As part of their regular Friday press conference, Democratic leadership talked about what is scheduled to happen with school finance, but House Minority Leader Jim Ward also noted what has not happened yet.
“Today is another day off for the Legislature,” said Ward. “It’s been 57 days since we started this session and we have yet to talk about schools in a public fashion, a committee hearing or on the floor. It has been 6 months since the Gannon decision and we are 50 days before the court deadline. Yet, nothing is happening in full light of hearings or debate.”
Ward thinks that is because there is a plan that he doesn’t know about.
“I believe the fix is in,” said Ward. “I believe, behind closed doors, those people who have been very unsuccessful in school litigation are putting together a plan and they are going to run it in a fashion that will limit debate, limit conversation, limit opportunities for those who have been deeply involved in education and see the issues that our schools and our children are facing, to have an opportunity to present ideas and to vote on those ideas.”
Ward doesn’t think that will meet the court’s scrutiny.
“That is absolutely the attitude and the process that has gotten us 0-12, 0-13 in litigation and on yet another deadline, threatening closing of schools so they can play political games,” said Ward. “They have to pull their heads out of the sand. They have to address the fact that schools are a priority and they need to be funded before the deadline gets here.”
Ward also noted that traditionally conservative legislators on the Appropriations Committee in the House are spending money as if they know what’s going to happen with school funding. He’s wondering if Republicans have already made their plans.