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RESOURCES

Kansas Legislature
Johnson County Election Office
Register to Vote

Communities of the
25th District

Fairway
Mission
Mission Hills
Mission Woods
Prairie Village
Roeland Park
Westwood
Westwood Hills

CONTACT MELISSA

In Topeka: 
State Capitol Room 352-A
Topeka, KS 66612
melissa.rooker@house.ks.gov
785-296-7686

At home in Fairway
4124 Brookridge Drive
Fairway, KS 66205
melissa@melissarooker.com
913-961-1555

Dear Friend:

Town Hall Meeting
Join me on Sunday, February 11 at 2pm
Fairway City Hall
5240 Belinder Road
Education Update
Successful school days begin with a good breakfast and a safe ride to school. Or so they should. So why are certain legislative leaders trying to claw back funding that ensures Kansas kids have that safe ride to school?

Distract and Discredit
The organized campaign against the Kansas Department of Education, our Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis, and his staff has created a distraction from the real issues at hand:
  • Today, we officially have only 24 days to deliver a legislative solution in the Gannon school finance case by the March 1 deadline set by our Attorney General.
  • A constitutional settlement in Gannon will require additional funding, something these same legislative leaders have been arguing against for years.
  • The financial audit used by these legislative leaders in their attempt to discredit the Department of Education actually concluded transportation costs many districts an amount significantly greater than the funding they receive from the state.
    • SMSD had over $4.4 million in transportation expenses for students who live outside a 2.5 mile radius (mandated by statute) yet received only $3 million in funding from the state.
    • The $1.4 million shortfall had to be made up from district funds that otherwise would have been spent in our classrooms.
  • The financial audit in question validated the method being used to calculate the transportation weighting and recommended the legislature simply codify it in statute. No criminal intent was alleged (Page 13). 
Here is a link to a deeper analysis of transportation funding if you are interested in learning more.

The campaign to discredit the work of an entire state agency should raise alarm bells. KSDE provides financial data relied upon for decision-making in the legislature. For years, the data provided has challenged the ideology of a certain group of lawmakers. For those wishing to defy the court, it is beneficial to make you think the data KSDE provides is untrustworthy.
 
In reality, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that our schools are seriously underfunded per Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution. We have one principle obligation this session – crafting a school finance remedy that will meet the constitutional test for both adequacy and equity. I introduced HB 2445 before session even began to address the four minor equity issues and clean up the language in the transportation weighting. I introduced HB 2561 last week as an option that deals with the transportation weighting alone. At a cost of $45,000 per legislative day, I am uncertain why we are waiting to take care of business.
 
The work of addressing adequacy of funding will require leadership from our new governor, and serious commitment from legislative leaders. I am surrounded by colleagues who share my desire to craft a responsible and lasting solution that ensures the success of all students in our state.
 
It’s high time our committees focus on crafting the appropriate legislative remedy. Our schools deserve certainty and a generation of Kansas kids depend on us.
In the weeks to come, I will delve more deeply into these issues. Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions or ideas about these or other legislative issues. It is my honor to serve you.

Sincerely,


Rep. Melissa Rooker
Kansas State Representative, District 25
Serving Northeast Johnson County
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved.
Paid for by Rooker for State Representative, Sheila Davis, Treasurer,