Guest editorial: Kansas ultraconservatives need to take a step back

Kansas ultraconservatives have a knack for hypocrisy.

When it comes to devising ways to cripple public schools, the far right in Kansas deserves an ?A? for creativity.

Another outlandish idea from ultraconservatives would drastically limit the eligibility of Kansans who could serve as school board members due to perceived conflicts of interest.

More than 40 percent of current school board members would be forced to resign under a bill discussed recently by an interim legislative committee.

Supporters of such radical change believe citizens shouldn?t serve on school boards if, for example, a spouse, sibling or parent are employed by any school district in Kansas or the state education department; or, they?re involved in a business that has dealings with any school district.

Of course, deliberately shrinking the pool of potential school board applicants in such a way would be fine with ultraconservatives who want to weaken K-12 public school operations to help privatized education make inroads.

The Special Committee on Ethics, Elections and Local Government did eventually drop the silly notion late last week, but not until ultraconservatives had planted yet another seed in their continued quest to undermine the credibility of most everything associated with public schools.

We know elected officials have an obligation to acknowledge potential conflicts of interest, rescue themselves when necessary and abstain from votes. Local voters can address such issues on their governing bodies.

Communities don?t need the state meddling ? and especially Kansas lawmakers who might consider publicly discussing their own conflicts of interest.

A good number who supported reckless income-tax breaks are themselves owners of small businesses who now pay no income tax, and no doubt have relatives receiving the same financial benefit.

But such hypocrisy is nothing new from far-right Republicans led by Gov. Sam Brownback.

They also malign K-12 school districts for their spending, yet made a spectacle of Kansas with their own gross fiscal mismanagement. They wrecked the state budget with ill-advised tax policies, forced credit downgrades on the state, and passed the biggest tax increase in Kansas history to try to dig out of the hole.

Their foolishness, to include the multifaceted attack on public education, should cost them in next year?s elections.

0 replies on “Guest editorial: Kansas ultraconservatives need to take a step back”