July 6, 2005
GOOD NEWS!!! We can all take a big breath now… Until next year, but for now, let’s focus on the not-so-tiny victories!
The Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides of the case and both supported SB 3, the bill we passed on Wednesday. At the end of the hearing, Chief Justice Kay McFarland announced the Court would release an opinion at 3:00 p.m. today.
Well, by 4:00 my phone was ringing off the hook with happy people!
The decision OK’d SB 3, albeit lukewarmly, and better yet, lifted the stay on two of the three local control provisions. Do you remember the movie Babe? It was kind of like that – “That’ll do, that’ll do.” The Court maintained jurisdiction to make sure we keep our promises, and said this bill will be fine for the interim; it’s a work in progress.
In June, the Court stayed the local control provisions because the legislature did not equalize them. The Court gave us the opportunity to make things right. We equalized the Local Option Budget and the Extraordinary Declining Enrollment and expanded the latter to enable more districts access to the benefit.
The Court also showed us mercy in missing their deadline. You’ll love this – “we continue to acknowledge, and appreciate, the ‘unique difficulties inherent in the legislative process.’" I got a kick out of that.
So for now, our schools get more money, Kansans get a property tax break (included in SB 3), and more of your tax dollars stay in Shawnee Mission schools. All in all a darn good day!
Thank you SO much for all of your support throughout this whole process, heck, since my first election in 2002 – we finally accomplished what we have been working so hard on for years. We should take time to celebrate – school starts in a matter of weeks!
All my best,
Rep. Stephanie Sharp