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Former House Speaker Says Kansas Lawmakers Should Push Back Against Education Court Ruling

Mike O'Neal speaking to a joint meeting of legislative committees. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

A former Kansas House Speaker told state lawmakers to fight back against a court ruling over school funding. The state Supreme Court says lawmakers must reduce funding disparities among school districts or schools could close. Stephen Koranda reports.

Former Republican Representative Mike O’Neal didn’t tell Kansas legislators directly to defy the court, he says they should respond. But he says they could point to state law passed years ago saying the court can’t close schools.
“In the court’s own words, when one branch oversteps the other, it’s the obligation of the one who’s encroached upon to push back, and the Legislature ought to push back,” says O’Neal.
O’Neal, now the head of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, also says lawmakers could comply without adding additional funding for schools.
Democratic Representative Jim Ward was not swayed.
“The Chamber was taking a very aggressive stance in terms of the ruling. I hope that is not listened to by the Legislature. What we should do, the people of Kansas want us to do our jobs, fix the problem and keeps schools open,” says Ward.
Ward says the solution is to add funding for schools to reduce disparities.

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