Issues, SEK

Obviously correlation and causation are different things we must consider, but we’re seeing this conversation an awful lot in recent years. The question becomes one of risk-reward: how much risk are we willing to assume in the pursuit of energy resources given our long term rewards (keeping in mind, the ability to continue relying on fossil fuels is not a reward), and at what point do we establish the line in the sand to force reconsideration?

“Reports of earthquakes in Kansas have shot up recently, particularly in the state’s south-central region. Now, scientists are connecting them to the disposal of wastewater that is a byproduct of the oil-and-gas extraction process. Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told the Lawrence Journal-World, ‘we can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes.'” Political tremors: Kansas officials link earthquakes to fracking-related process, FoxNews.com

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Issues, Kansas

Interesting to see this coming up in the news again, especially after the legislature took action to correct the matter after the initial ruling.

“Acting on earlier direction from the state Supreme Court, the Shawnee County District Court panel concluded that current funding falls short of what are called the “Rose standards,” a multi-part test for adequacy of school spending outlined in a Kentucky case and adopted by courts across the country.” Court rules school funding is inadequate under Kansas Constitution, The Wichita Eagle

For those unfamiliar, with regard to the constitutional requirements of the state in matters of educational funding, the Kansas constitution states:

The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state. Article 6, Section 6, part B

The “educational interests of the state” are then further outlined in KSA 72-1127. It’s a fairly complicated entanglement of principles, made more difficult since the base cost to accomplish those goals has no definite number (what the court calls a “bright line”). But as such, the courts stopped short of actually telling the legislature how much they had to fund, and only declared that the current funding levels clearly cannot satisfy KSA 72-1127.

The real struggle that’s interesting is finding where that balance is between being flat out underfunded, and just being asked to create new efficiencies which tighter budgets. Obviously it’s not a bad thing to evaluate if we’re overpaying for educational outcomes. It’s tough though when there isn’t so much a line in the sand, as you’re just dealing with a zone that encompasses the whole beach.

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CC by-nc-sa 2.0 Justin in SD
Issues, SEK

If I Were a Betting Man

On the 24th, news came out of Cherokee County of another group interested in petitioning the state for the construction of a casino in southeastern Kansas. They join two other projects also underway that are making similar proposals for Crawford County. This is interesting, because in the end, only one project can proceed – not all three. Kansas is divided into four “gaming zones,” and each zone can only have one casino that is under the leadership (in various weird and bureaucratic ways) of the Kansas Lottery Commission. The SEK gaming zone is the last one without a  casino operating in it.

This is, mostly, good news for SEK. While I myself am not much of a gambler, I’m a big fan of the dining establishments that frequently accompany them, not to mention the concerts. I’m also a supporter of letting people game with their money if that’s what they feel the need to do. And with Amazon leaving Montgomery County, having a casino built in the area will give a huge boost to the job and tax pool in the entire area. Lord knows we can use all the revenue flow we can get these days. So, a whole lot of upside to this process. Continue reading

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