Worth watching this battle in Kansas over education funding: A pair of right-wing leaders in the state senate — Senate President Susan Wagle, of Wichita, and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, of Overland Park — announced earlier this week that they will block debate on education funding bills until lawmakers put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot that would strip the ability of state courts to declare that the state’s spending on public schools was inadequate.

Wagle and Denning are trying to hold education funding hostage to force lawmakers to put the proposed amendment to voters, but that would require two-thirds majorities in the both houses of the legislature, which most observers in Kansas seem to think is unlikely to actually happen.

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The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that the state’s current spending on public schools did not meet the state constitution’s requirement for adequacy. The state budget in Kansas has been in crisis since former Gov. Sam Brownback‘s “red-state experiment” — a wave of tax cuts that was supposed to spur economic growth but instead left a massive hole in the state budget.

The legislature is now set to add funding to public schools in response to the court ruling, but GOP leaders are trying to insist that funding be paired with a ballot measure aimed at stripping the court of the power to enforce adequacy.

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The Republican-dominated legislature in Arkansas has also been known to gripe about court-mandated adequacy requirements in public education, and of course these issues have been one of the noisiest fights in the state political landscape for decades.

In 2017, two Republican senators tried to put forward ballot measures that look similar to the gambit being attempted by the Senate GOP leadership in Kansas. The efforts, one by Sen. Alan Clark and one by Sen. Blake Johnson, both died in committee. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pop up again, in Arkansas and in other GOP-dominated states eager to cut taxes and squeeze education budgets.

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