Last week was the formal end of the 2016 Legislative Session. However, our job was left unfinished. We left Topeka learning that May revenues were down about $75 million. That means our state will run on a credit card (which we cannot constitutionally do) for the remainder of the fiscal year without further cuts or spending adjustments.
We left Topeka knowing that our schools are not equitably funded under our Constitution. Schools will close July 1 according to the court ruling if we do not fix the equity funding (and estimates put the cost of doing so between $40 and $70 million).
Both of these items are serious problems with even more serious ramifications. With the legislature out of town, both of these items lie in the hands of the Governor.
When the legislature is out of session, the Governor has certain discretion to cut spending in order that the state doesn’t spend on a credit card. Legislator, and thus the people we represent, do not have a vote in this process. Of course, these cuts will be on top of cuts that have already been made – most dramatically to our colleges, universities, and infrastructure projects.
Regarding our schools, simply put – we MUST act and we MUST keep our schools open
. I called the Governor’s office today and followed up with a letter requesting he call a special session in order to address the court order. I am in communication with many of my legislative colleagues who, likewise, are putting pressure on the Governor to call a special session. Our children are 100% of our future and we cannot let them down.
I would urge each of you to join in our effort
- call Governor Brownback and tell him to call a special session and keep our schools open. You can reach him at 785-296-3232
Gregory K. Lewis
910 NE 30th Ave
St. John, KS 67576