Local teachers need boost in face of many challenges.

Much debate has focused on whether the state of Kansas is providing sufficient support for public education.

While it's a divisive topic, any argument should end when it comes to the need to give the folks on the front line in education teachers the support and respect they deserve.

But that's not been the case in the Kansas Statehouse, where an ultraconservative Republican faction led by Gov. Sam Brownback has slashed state spending for schools, and looks to do more damage on that front.

The latest court battle over school funding has the Kansas Supreme Court in line to address a lower-court ruling that Kansas must increase its annual spending on aid to public schools by at least $440 million, a decision the state appealed. Ultraconservatives already have indicated they will do whatever it takes to shun the decision if the court rules the state must increase funding.

And this in a state that cut funding to K-12 public schools more than all but two states since the recession of 2007-08. Only Alabama and Wisconsin reportedly cut more funding per pupil during that time.

Undermining public education in such a way does nothing to encourage job growth and economic development, and sends a poor message to teachers already trying to do more with less.

Dedicated educators still do their best, and tonight the community will honor them during the annual Crystal Apple Teacher Recognition Program presented by the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce.

The finalists for this year's Crystal Apple award are Alexander Koning, Kenneth Henderson Middle School; Karen Kyler, Garfield Early Childhood Center; RoseMary Erives, Buffalo Jones Elementary School; Summer Miller, KHMS, Horace Good Middle School and Garden City High School; Tamillia Moore, Edith Scheuerman Elementary School; and Tammy Ueke, Victor Ornelas Elementary School.

The Crystal Apple award program may single out a select few teachers, but in reality helps salute the many good educators who, in the face of unprecedented challenges, change lives for the better.

All who choose the demanding work of inspiring children to do great things deserve our enthusiastic praise and support year-round.