Speaker Merrick announces appointments to interim committees

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 @ 5:49PM

TOPEKA—House Speaker Ray Merrick (R-Stilwell) on Tuesday announced appointments to two interim committees studying education finance and tax exemptions.

The Quality Education Interim Committee will work on crafting recommendations to the 2016 legislature regarding the construction of a new system for financing K-12 education. Meanwhile, the Special Committee on Taxation will examine tax exemptions and whether or not they should remain law.


The appointments follow:

Quality Education Interim Committee

Rep. Ron Highland (Chair)
Rep. Jerry Lunn
Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr.
Rep. Tony Barton
Rep. Sue Boldra
Rep. Larry Campbell
Rep. Dennis Hedke

Special Committee on Taxation

Rep. Marvin Kleeb (Vice-Chair)

Rep. Ken Corbet

Rep. Mark Hutton

Rep. Jerry Lunn

Rep. Marc Rhoades

The scope statement for the Quality Education Interim Committee follows:

The Interim Committee is charged with researching the framework of a new funding mechanism for K-12.   At the heart of the Committee’s work will be the widely held belief that education should focus on the child, not the institution. The Committee will be guided by the clear path set forth by the Kansas Supreme Court in Gannon; a fiscally responsible approach that emphasizes accountability and takes all funding sources into account.

No topic relating to school funding is off limits.  Those areas where the State School Board and Local School Boards are responsible will be respected and their input will be requested; input from other interested parties will also be welcomed.  The Kansas Constitution tasks the Legislature with the responsibility of allocating taxpayer funds in a responsible manner.  The Legislature takes this responsibility very seriously and will incorporate the efficient use of taxpayer funds into its recommendations.

The Committee will focus on funding the student, and getting a larger portion of education spending into Instruction.  This includes options to use efficiency-driven savings to improve teacher pay.  The committee will also compile and evaluate previous documentation within the Kansas Department of Education (KSDE) and examine other pertinent research.

The goal will be to research the framework of a funding mechanism that ensures all the students across the state have an equal opportunity to pursue an education of their choosing, that prepares them for whatever they endeavor to aspire to upon graduation.   Creating a new funding system that provides students with equal opportunity to pursue a quality education will require a standards driven process with meaningful measures of accountabilities that the student, parents, and teachers can use to determine the effectiveness of the student’s education.

“Education is the guardian genius of democracy.  It is the only dictator that free men recognize, and the only ruler that free men require.”  By Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (served as Vice President, Republic of Texas under Sam Houston)


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