Educators, lawmakers rally over school funding, special session announcement

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Lawmakers, educators and students rallied for education Tuesday afternoon at North High School. The rally was held shortly after Governor Brownback called for a special session to address school funding. No date has been set for the special legislative session.

Brownback will address the Kansas Supreme Court's ruling on school funding. The Legislature faces an order from the court to fix the funding by June 30 or have funding put on hold, triggering a shut down of schools statewide.

Education supporters said this is a step in the right direction, but they wanted the session to happen soon.

Peggy Warren, Hadley Middle School eighth-grade teacher, said, "I was relieved that he called the special session. I was disappointed that he didn't have the date for it. We need to get moving on this. We need to get the ball rolling. He should have also had a date with it."

State Rep. Jim Ward, D-Wichita, said, "We can take today as a good step forward to keep the schools open. We are not done. We have not even begun to finish the product. But we have gotten by the first big step to call the legislature back to address the problem."

Educators and lawmakers fear if schools shut down, it could have a negative impact on the Wichita economy.

"We have about $40 to $50 million a month in local economy stimulus that is all in jeopardy, and that's wrong," Ward stated.

Representatives with United Teachers of Wichita and SEIU (Service Employees International Union) were present at the rally.