Kansas Citians On How They Think Kansas Should Approach School Funding

Jun 15, 2016

The Kansas Legislature is preparing to go into special session to remedy a school funding formula that the Kansas Supreme Court ruled is unconstitutional. The court told the Legislature they have until June 30 to remedy the formula, or schools will be closed

KCUR's Central Standard went to the streets to ask locals what they believe is the best approach to school funding. 

At Broadmoor Park and Oak Park Mall, in Johnson County, Kansas, we asked people their connection to Kansas education, and how they thought Kansas should approach funding different districts fairly. Here's what they said:

Miranda Baggett is a 17-year-old student at Shawnee Mission East High School. We caught up with her as she walked her dogs.
Credit Claire Banderas / KCUR

“My school, we are known as the rich school. We got MacBook Airs my freshman year. There are certain schools that don’t even have computer labs and stuff and I just think that’s really unfair.”

She said redistributing some of the resources could help.

“I think if we cut back on getting more expensive computers and paying less for like certain football coaches or something and give it to another I think that’d be totally fine.”

Jayche Lacy works in Lenexa, Kansas, and lives in Grandview, Missouri. She said children, like her son Siyer, that attend schools in urban communities don't receive fair funding.
Credit Claire Banderas / KCUR

Jayche Lacy said that it’s not just the parents’ responsibility to worry about education.

“I feel that everyone should care about one another, and even the people that don’t have kids should care about the kids in your community getting a good education and being able to provide a healthy living for themselves and for the community around them so to make a better America.”

Robert Kearns' son, Anthony, just finished kindergarten. He said it is early for him to see if the funding impacted his son's education. His older son, Daniel, goes to school in Missouri.
Credit Claire Banderas / KCUR

Robert Kearns grew up in the Kansas City, Kansas, school district. He said he notices a difference between the types of resources districts are getting — similar to when he was growing up.

“It seems like when I was growing up, seemed like the Johnson county schools got more better school equipment, sports equipment, just better sports in general.”

Kearns’ son, Anthony just finished kindergarten in Kansas. While he hasn’t noticed an impact directly on his son’s education, he said he would put his son in private school if he began to notice changes. 

Lori Strnad said she worked hard and made sacrifices to move to a school district with higher income homes.
Credit Claire Banderas / KCUR

Lori Strnad has two children in second grade at Stanley Elementary in the Blue Valley School District. She said that she is disappointed the Legislature is blaming the Supreme Court for the problems they have created.

“I feel like they need to instead of trying to avoid what the Supreme Court is trying to do. They need to listen to what they’re doing. Take some guidance. Stop fighting between themselves politically along the party lines and do the best things for the schools and the kids.”

Jeremy Radick said he has no problem paying higher taxes if it meant better schools. Radick joked that he doesn't mind taxes because he is originally from Canada.
Credit Claire Banderas / KCUR

Jeremy Radick’s daughter Amelia goes to Corinth Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District.  He said that school funding shouldn’t be taken at a cookie-cutter approach.

“I live in Prairie Village and we have a PTA that raises a lot of money. That’s great. But maybe that means in other schools districts where they don’t have that option for whatever variety of reasons, then they should look for the funding of those districts in a different way then they look at the funding for the district that I’m in.”

Jason Barrett grew up in Desoto, Kansas. He says throwing money at the problem won't fix it.
Credit Claire Banderas / KCUR

Jason Barrett was born and raised in Desoto, Kansas. He said that policy makers should be focusing on the individuality the schools, students and communities they are in.

“Each school or each area is different than the next one. I think the schools should strive to be less like each other and more like the community they surround themselves in.”

Barrett now lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He said his son’s education was factor in why they chose to live there.

Claire Banderas is a digital intern at KCUR 89.3.