As we await the canvassing that will tell us who has won the Republican nomination for governor, it’s important to note the differences in education policy that those who will be running in the fall have talked about thus far.
“Senator Kelly of course voted for the additional revenue for schools,” said Mark Tallman with the Kansas Association of School Boards. “Over the last several years, she voted for the most recent school finance plan, that the Supreme Court sort of tentatively approved, subject to an adjustment for inflation going forward.”
Governor Jeff Colyer signed that proposal.
“He wasn’t Governor when the tax bill was passed last year,” said Tallman. “Governor Colyer has been very supportive, I think, of the state board’s direction, of the Kansans Can goals, increased post-secondary participation.”
Tallman thinks either Kelly or Colyer would continue to support the state board’s vision, though Colyer does not want to raise taxes. Both Colyer and Kris Kobach have expressed support for a Constitutional amendment to end school finance litigation. Kelly does not support such a change. Kobach did not respond to the KASB’s survey on the matter.
“Secretary Kobach, I think, has really been more clear about wanting to cut taxes,” said Tallman. “We believe that inevitably results in cutting spending. That, I think, will be a concern. He’s talked about having a much more dramatic state role in directing what he calls dollars to the classroom.”
It’s not entirely clear what dollars to the classroom means to Kobach. As for Greg Orman, he’s never served as a legislator, which makes it harder to know what he’ll do.
“He’s talked about supporting education,” said Tallman. “The record still isn’t there. Obviously, all these things, we’ll have an opportunity to hear this fall as I think the candidates become more specific.”
The fall election is November 6.