Capitol Update: Rep. Stephanie Clayton on working against legislation she says will slash public education funding

"Johnson County was built on the bedrock of our public schools," said Democratic Rep. Stephanie Clayton, District 19, while discussing the importance of public education funding. File photo.

Each week, we provide Shawnee Mission area legislators the opportunity to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. Sen. Kellie Warren, Rep. Charlotte Esau and Rep. Stephanie Clayton are scheduled to send updates this week.

Below is the submission from Democratic State Rep. Stephanie Clayton who represents District 19.

Serving you is an honor and a joy. I have gotten to know many of you through this service opportunity, and there is one underlying theme that people in Johnson County have expressed to me: the need for a government that provides stability.

It has been a tough year. We have lost people we love to the Covid-19 pandemic, and our community has been rocked by the fallout. Johnson County has done what we always do: gotten the necessary work done to make it through this crisis, and performed at the highest level.

We crushed the curve and got our work done without complaint, because we know that prosperity comes from hard work and sacrifice.

I am most proud of the sacrifices that I have seen from our families. Our worlds were turned upside-down in a matter of weeks when we moved from our traditional lifestyles to remote living. Households were reconfigured to accommodate parents who worked from home, and students who learned from home. We changed the way that we lived in order to ensure the survival of our loved ones and our neighbors.

And, as the sun comes out, we come into this new Spring understanding and appreciating just how important stability is to our families.

We need our public school system to continue to be robust. This system provides all our children with a world-class education that allows them not only to compete, but to excel in our global economy. It also serves as the backbone for a society in which most households must have two incomes in order to survive.

As your Representative, it is incumbent upon me to provide you with a firm foundation on which to build. Now, more than ever, we need a government that works so well that you don’t even realize that it’s there. This is why it is so important that your representatives work against the threat in Topeka to defund public education.

House Bill 2119 does exactly that. It threatens to slash funding for public education, which would resume the chaotic cycle of lawsuits that robbed so many of our children of the opportunities that they deserve.

It would funnel money from schools that serve all children to institutions that turn away children with Special Needs. It would retaliate against schools that take measures to protect the health of our children.

We are coming back from this difficult year stronger than ever. But, these threats to our normal way of life loom large in Topeka.

Johnson County was built on the bedrock of our public schools. Many of us will fight to keep that foundation strong. Please continue to make sure that we all continue to commit to a strong and prosperous society in which we can grow together and move beyond this crisis, instead of creating a new one.

I work for you! You can call me at 913-205-4970, email me at Stephanie.Clayton@house.ks.gov, or follow me on twitter @sscjocoks.