FF12 Fact Check: Ad calls out Derek Schmidt’s record on school funding

For 12 News FactFinder, Shawn Loging is taking a look into claims made by an ad supporting Democratic Governor Laura Kelly.
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 12:26 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In the race for Kansas governor, there is a specific focus placed on issues of education and schools. Ads for both parties hit on the issue, trying to support their specific candidate to the detriment of the other. For 12 News FactFinder, Shawn Loging is taking a look into claims made by a video supporting Democratic Governor Laura Kelly paid for by the Kansas Democratic Party. This follows 12 Factfinder’s previous look into claims made against Kelly in an ad supporting the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Governor Laura Kelly has called herself the “education governor.”

Claim 1: “Governor Laura Kelly has fully funded public schools four years in a row.”

To check this claim, you have to define fully funded. the ad, paid for by the Kansas Democratic party, is referring to the K-12 budget approved by Governor Kelly. That budget meets the constitutionally required school funding levels, and the settlement was reached following the Gannon lawsuit.

Claim 2: “(Derek) Schmidt says he would fully fund schools as the constitution requires but in the senate, he supported a bill to keep schools underfunded.”

This claim dates back to 2005 when Attorney General Derrek Schmidt was the majority leader in the Kansas Senate. Schmidt was among the votes to pass that year’s school funding bill. It increased school funding by 140 million dollars, but the Kansas Supreme Court ruled it failed to fund public schools adequately. It was later resolved in a special session.

Claim 3: “How can Schmidt claim to be a better choice on education when he chose Sam Brownback over Kansas students, teachers and parents?”

The Kansas Democratic Party is referring to the Brownback tax experiment, which led to cuts in school funding, including in 2015 when 44.5 million dollars was cut from K-12 and higher education.

Where Schmidt comes into this is through his role as attorney general. He was part of the state’s legal team in the state’s years-long legal fight against the Gannon school finance lawsuit, which included appealing lower court rulings to the state supreme court.

This mirrors claims checked in other ads that have aired.