Our questions for the local Kansas legislature candidates — plus, announcing the first-ever shawneemissionpost.com candidate forum!

Per our usual routine, we’ll be posing five questions to candidates for local statehouse offices and letting them use the platform that is shawneemissionpost.com to edify our readers about the issues that matter to them most. Not surprisingly, our call for input about what questions we should ask the candidates elicited a tsunami of queries about public education. We’ve obliged — and are eager to hear their positions.

We’ll begin running the candidates’ answers to these questions on Monday, Oct. 22, publishing the answer to one question a day throughout the week.

BUT, if you can’t wait to hear where the candidates stand — and would like to meet them in person — we encourage you to plan to attend the first-ever Prairie Village Post Candidate Forum, to be held the morning of Saturday, Oct. 20. Final details to follow later this week.

The questionnaire below is going out today to the following candidates:

Senate Dist. 7: Democrat Kyle Russell and Republican Kay Wolf

House Dist. 19: Republican Stephanie Clayton and Democrat Zach Leau

House Dist. 21:  Democrat Amy Bell and Republican Barbara Bollier

House Dist. 25: Democrat Megan England and Republican Melissa Rooker.

And here are our questions:

1.) Despite no evidence of significant in-person voter fraud in the state, Secretary of State Kris Kobach led efforts to enact voter ID laws in Kansas similar to those being challenged across the country. Do you support these laws? Why or why not?

2.) Gov. Browback has spearheaded an aggressive tax reduction plan he says will increase employment and spur business growth in the state. Critics say the plan will lead to budget gaps that will require deep cuts to state programs. Do you agree with the Governor’s philosophy of cutting taxes?

3.) Would you support extending the current 1 cent state “temporary” sales tax if it emerges as the only politically achievable means to limit additional cuts to public education funding in the near-term? If not, do you support further cuts to public education?

4.) Governor Sam Brownback in September appointed a 10-person task force to search for ways to “make public schools more financially efficient.” Shawnee Mission received a 100 percent efficiency rating from Standard & Poor’s in a study commissioned during Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’s tenure. Do you think Kansas public schools are run inefficiently? If so, where is money being wasted?

5.) Shawnee Mission Superintendent Gene Johnson recently said he felt the coming legislative session might offer the best chance to allow local districts to gain more control in how much money they can raise for schools. Do you think the “local option budget” portion of the school-funding formula should be changed? How much should local districts be able to raise?

Thanks as usual to all our readers for sending in question ideas — you always send some thought provoking items.