The Kansas Senate has narrowly defeated a constitutional amendment that would have prevented courts from closing public schools in the future. Lawmakers are currently in a legal dispute with the Kansas Supreme Court over education funding that could result in schools closing July 1.
The proposal was designed to prevent courts as well as lawmakers from shuttering schools. Republican Sen. Jeff King said he pushed the amendment so that Kansas voters could consider the idea on the November ballot.
“Let the people have a voice. Let’s take the nuclear option off the table. Let’s keep our schools open,” says King.
Critics of the amendment argued it would weaken the separation of powers. They also called it a distraction from the real issue at hand, school funding.
Democratic Sen. David Haley said the plan was being pushed by lawmakers who simply disagree with court rulings on school funding.
“It’s like our Legislature has a temper tantrum of sorts. We’re just pouting. We’re just mad and we’re stamping our feet and holding our breath,” says Haley.
The proposed constitutional amendment was one vote short of the 2/3 majority needed.