ANDOVER, Kan. -- With the 2014 Kansas Legislative Session a little more than a month away, some Kansas parents are gearing up for anticipated battles over school funding.
Important to the debate, parents in Andover say, are regular conversations with lawmakers. They meet monthly with elected leaders to discuss education issues. The format is being adopted by parents in other districts.
"I absolutely believe that the grassroots effort has just begun," Gail Jamison, a Goddard parent and school board member.
Jamison is planning to start a group similar to the Andover Parent Legislative Council, which meets monthly with legislators and other office holders. That is something Jamison believes parents in every school district should be doing.
"We're going to have to be able to stand up and be the voices for our children and be the voices for Kansas public schools," Jamison said.
Andover parents say they enjoy a good relationship with those who represent them in Topeka because of the monthly meetings.
"They come to our meetings when we invite them, they provide us with information, they listen to our questions," Andover parent Liberty Kleeman said. "We may not always agree, but we do enjoy a good relationship with them, which is important."
Also important, parents believe, is showing lawmakers how school districts operate.
"I think it becomes a lot more real or personal if you see the people, you see the children, you meet the educators and know what they're doing," Laura Roddy, another Andover parent, said.
Jamison said, as she organizes her Goddard group, parents in other communities are putting groups together, too.
"We're networking together with our stories to understand not just what happens in our own districts, but to understand how it impacts students across the State of Kansas," she said.
The Andover Parent Legislative Council will have its next conversation with lawmakers at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Andover Middle School.