Elections will continue despite COVID-19. Filing deadline for state, federal races is June 1Scott Rothschild
State and federal elections will take place as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic. With the June 1 filing deadline approaching, school leaders should be looking at candidates who they believe can best represent their values, including possibly running themselves. A number of legislators and State Board of Education members began their public service as school board members and educators. KASB does not endorse political candidates.
State legislative races will be especially significant this year for K-12 public education advocates. The final years of the funding formula that settled the Gannon school finance case have not yet been appropriated and the state’s budget picture just became much more complicated.
Prior to March 2020, it appeared the state’s financial outlook might allow for a fairly smooth phase-in of the Gannon funding. The near-catastrophic economic impact of the coronavirus, however, will almost certainly prompt legislators to closely examine state expenditures. The Kansas Supreme Court retained oversight of the Gannon case to ensure the Legislature fulfills its commitment; however, with the state’s ending balance now predicted to be deeply in the red in Fiscal Year 2021 there will no doubt be tough discussions about funding priorities. Education advocates will need to be involved in those discussions.
The 125-member Kansas House of Representatives is elected every two years. Party leaders on both sides of the aisle are recruiting aggressively to fill potential open House seats, and several incumbents have not yet filed for re-election, raising the possibility of additional openings.
The 40-member Kansas Senate is elected every four years, including in 2020. While some party stalwarts have filed for re-election, other longtime Republican and Democratic senators have not yet made their intentions known.
While KASB does not endorse candidates, the organization provides data and briefing materials to all interested potential legislators.