Shawnee Mission district supports block grant bill; local education groups, legislator opposed

Topeka_Kansas

The Shawnee Mission School District has declared its support for the block grant program which would replace the state’s school funding formula that has been in place since 1992. That puts the district at odds with many of its traditional allies in northeast Johnson County.

The bill was scheduled for a vote in the Kansas House this morning after moving through committee earlier this week. Rep. Melissa Rooker, a leading voice on education for the NEJC delegation, said she will be opposing the bill.

Other groups, including the Shawnee Mission Area Council PTA, Game On for Kansas Schools and the MainStream Coalition, opposed the block grants in written testimony for the committee hearings Monday and Tuesday.

The Shawnee Mission district clarified its position Wednesday in an email from the district’s lobbyist in Topeka, Stuart Little, to members of the legislative delegation from the Shawnee Mission district. The email contained an unsigned statement on the letterhead of the superintendent’s office that reiterated the district’s long-held desire to change the school funding formula. See the full statement embedded below:

https://dfv6pkw99pxmo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/SMSD-block-grant-031115.pdf

Judith Deedy, Executive Director of Game On, said the district is “putting a lot of trust in a future formula.” That trust may not be warranted, she said. In its testimony, Game On listed “multiple grounds” for its opposition and questioned if it met the requirements of the court’s Gannon decision. Game On, now a statewide movement, has its roots at Belinder Elementary. See its testimony below:

https://dfv6pkw99pxmo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Game-On-testimony.pdf

A Kansas PTA action alert sent out this morning asked members to contact legislators to oppose the block grant bill.