Game On, the grassroots parent group started by Belinder Elementary parents that focuses on public school funding, has come under attack from the Kansas Republican Party organization. The Kansas GOP’s broadside was in response to a posting on the Game On Facebook page about recent court arguments on school funding. (The post is embedded at the end of the story).
An entry in a Republican party newsletter called Game On a “far left-wing organization in Johnson County” and a “well funded front group for left-wing special interests.” Among those who have met with Game On have been several northeast Johnson County Republican legislators, including Reps. Melissa Rooker and Barbara Bollier and school board member Donna Bysfield. At a MainStream Coalition dinner Sunday night where Game On was given an award, Bysfield was on stage with other Game On members to receive the award and Rooker gave an endorsement in the video introduction of the award.
The group of parents and educators started nearly four years ago, meeting with their state representatives and a school board member to become more informed about legislative activity. The purpose remains to educate citizens and encourage them to contact legislators, says founder Judith Deedy.
Following the recent Kansas Supreme Court hearing on school funding, Game On posted a statement that said in part “We found it particularly troubling the assertions by the State that the Court shouldn’t be involved in determining adequate school funding at all because citizens have recourse by voting every two to four years to oust legislators who don’t fund schools as voters might want.” That prompted a posting from Clay Barker, the executive director of the state GOP to post on the page: “you actually think voters are too stupid to decide what happens to their own tax money. You cannot spin your way out of that one.”
A posting on the Kansas Republican Party Facebook page then called the Game On posting “one of the dumbest FB comments ever. This group of elitists…..” the posting continued.
Deedy said the postings were a surprise and that there has been no direct contact from the Republican Party. Game On, she says, is parents and teachers and includes Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Their focus is on school funding and avoiding the privatization of schools in Kansas. The goal is to get more people educated and involved in issues that affect schools.
The groups is still growing and uses its Facebook page as the primary means of communication. It now has 1,500 likes and is seeing more people from across the state show interest. It also has a video explaining its purpose.