Archive for Friday, October 7, 2005

Education chief gets $115,000 pay raise

Commissioner criticized for having no experience will make more than governor

October 7, 2005


— Bob Corkins' fortunes improved dramatically after conservatives on the State Board of Education hired him to be education commissioner.

Corkins, a conservative activist from Lawrence, will be paid $140,000 per year as the top administrator in the Kansas public school system.

That's $36,299.64 more than Kathleen Sebelius makes yearly as governor of Kansas.

And it's a "significant increase" over what he made before landing the education commissioner's job, Corkins said Thursday.

Corkins declined to reveal how much he had been making, but he released tax records for one of the conservative foundations he manned.

Corkins was the sole staffer of Kansas Legislative Education and Research Inc., called KLEAR, and the Freestate Center for Liberty Studies, both nonprofit organizations.

In 2004, the IRS exemption form for KLEAR showed Corkins was paid $25,100. It also showed the organization was supported by dues from members, and $5,000 from Koch Industries, the Wichita-based business conglomerate whose leaders bankroll numerous conservative organizations.

The Freestate Center didn't have to file an exemption form because it didn't raise more than the threshold of $25,000, Corkins said.

Corkins said he made more than $25,100 from KLEAR this year, but he declined to say how much and said those tax records have not yet been filed. He also declined to say how much he earned from Freestate and as an attorney who wrote a legal brief for the Kansas Taxpayers Network in the school finance lawsuit in opposition to court intervention in the case.

"I was like any self-employed guy," Corkins said.

Education Board Chairman Steve Abrams, a conservative Republican from Arkansas City, said he offered Corkins $140,000 per year because that was about what the former education commissioner, Andy Tompkins, made when he resigned earlier this year. Tompkins is now an associate professor at Kansas University.

Abrams said he did not discuss with Corkins what Corkins had been making.

"We had decided he was the best person for the job, and we think he is worth $140,000," Abrams said.

Meanwhile, criticism of the Education Board continued Thursday because of the hiring of Corkins, who has no professional education experience. He is best known over the past few years for lobbying against increased school funding and for other conservative causes.

"This choice shows, yet again, that a majority of the board would prefer to focus on side issues and partisan politics, at the expense of Kansas students and parents," said state Sen. Janis Lee, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee.

Abrams has defended the hiring of Corkins, saying he will bring a new perspective to the agency.

In selecting Corkins, the conservative majority rejected the current deputy education commissioner, a high-ranking education official in New Mexico, a rural school superintendent and a Washburn University education professor.


Richard Heckler 12 years, 8 months ago

Thursday, October 6 Topeka - School superintendents say the hiring of Bob Corkins as Kansas education commissioner raises questions on how much support and guidance educators will receive in meeting state and federal mandates. They point to Corkins' lack of education credentials and his background as an advocate for restricting the growth of education spending and creating a voucher system. Corkins says he's eager to learn.

Vouchers will place students in private schools at taxpayer expense. This is primarily a movement backed by the Christian Coalition. Atlas Economic Research Foundation of which Dwight Sutherland(Sutherland Lumber) and Bob Corkins are associated also support that psoition. GW Bush,Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are loving this activity. Corkins appointment made nationwide news.

Frankly I believe the State Board of Education should be eliminated. This has been my view for better than a year. It had become dysfunctional. Not only that the state has many school boards who must receive mandates from state and federal legislators. Eliminating the state board would mean one less source of mandates which usually increase the cost of public education without state or federal funding to support them. No Child Left Behind is a perfect increase in cost example.

Also some board members had spent our tax dollars attending conferences that had nothing to do with public schools. My speculation says vouchers were the issue.

jwmound 12 years, 8 months ago

Ok, wait a minute, hold the phone.... hmmmm.... do i see a trend here,... does the state legislature, not to mention local legislature, have a total disobediance to the general people as a whole... when are we as a natural born citizen gonna' stand up for our values... Seems that education has taken a backdoor.
When did the taxpayers forget about the teachers,.. not of a university institution, but.. .. a little more important,.. elementary, middle school, highschool... good textbooks... . Our teachers in this state are underpaid,. and have become a puppet along with the law enforcement agencies.. when will we see funding for our teachers, whom , which in case,, are our youth,.. therefore, we were once students,, anyone remember those teachers who were in thier 50's or 60's on the verge of retirement,... but they still taught with thier fullest ability,... pay didn't matter to them at retirement because when the started teaching they made a meager 8,000 dollars a year if that,... no tell me, .. where is our morals, our understanding,.. our intelligence.. did it go by the way side? or are you people letting somebody else speak what you want to say,.... don't let the one room schoolhouse precidents,, come to the grasp of the undertakings, of a money ladden hippocritt!!!!

coldandhot 12 years, 8 months ago

I love it when the education rummies and merrill are running for the hills...they are scared of Corkins. He is going to clean house. Its about time we had someone like him. Does anyone agree that Rothschild is the most bias reporter at the LJWorld? He lists Koch Industries but I think like 20 other corporations support KLEAR and some Democrat legislators.

neopolss 12 years, 8 months ago

you're with a slim few coldandhot, the main problem is this education panel's quest for power and control. They could give two craps about the education system itself. I wopuld think most of us possessing a certain amount of common sense, would want someone experienced within education to fill this position, perhaps finding a TEACHER. Instead, we find someone with no experience and give them a huge salary, all for the sake of politics. How sad. It's time to clean up the board.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 8 months ago

The fundy majority and Corkins will be to the BOE what BushCo and Brown have been to FEMA.

Get ready for the perfect storm of self-fulfilling prophesies as these wackos destroy what remains of public education.

Dani Davey 12 years, 8 months ago

Maybe now that Corkins is being paid with tax dollars he won't be so averse to taxes.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

Don't hate the player, hate the game. if you don't want the commissioner paid that much, um, don't pay him that much.

what does the commissioner do again?

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

by the way, I agree with all of you.

that is a lot of money to pay someone, especially when he really doesn't do anything.

in fact, I think they ought to get rid of the position all together, maybe even the entire BOE.

why not localize the situation into individual BOEs?
for instance, why not have a Lawrence area public schools BOE independent of a state BOE?
wouldn't that improve Lawrence public schools? If they need improving as they are (love 'em)

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

why would I tell a teacher to shut up?

in law school, my favorite professor was as liberal as can be. my advisor on my final paper/essay/whatever was a former new york ACLU lawyer and a huge liberal.

I don't care about liberal v. conservative when it comes to a reasoned debate.

Again, I know you don't like me, but don't put words into my mouth.

the outrage should totally be on your side as well for 'letting' the BOE go 'conservative' it was laziness. conservatives outworked moderates and democrates to take over the board, now look what happpened. hopefully this energizes the whole thing and gets people focused on what is important.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

Where were all you critics when Beanie Bob made David Adkins a Vice-Chancellor at KU's Dead Center? How much was that? Something like $116,000.00 for a guy who never earned a five figure salary, plus he gets to run around the state campaigning at our expense. What were his credentials to become a Vice-Chancellor, I forget?

At least Corkins had enough respect from the legislature that several legislators paid him $400.00 a year out of their own pockets to advise them. Adkins was easily the state's sleaziest legislator whose legislation literally drew laughter from the other legislators because they knew why he was introducing the stuff.

There's nothing wrong with hiring someone from the outside to manage these government school parasites. It's certainly far better than letting another inmate run the asylum just so they can slop the trough.

Now let's get a panel of outsiders to take over the Disciplinary Board that reviews these crooked lawyers. Then maybe we can get rid of guys like Rosen and Nuss and Allegrucci who can't seem to let conflicts of interest hinder their interpretation of the law. Yessir the best lawyers money can buy.

Hooray for Corkins, let's get someone just like him over the Disciplinary Board (and perhaps the personnel department at the Dead Center.) Hey Wendt, you got any experience in personnel?

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

read my post...

independent of the state BOE.

and, no, I didn't get high this morning.

again, putting words in my mouth. thanks, but I can speak for myself.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

what are you talking about?

I do love teachers, have depended on them my whole life, liberal, conservative, independent, etc.

"oh chill out 35thid" - er, a joke there Wendt.

how is saying I love teachers and don't disrepect them and how does saying "chill out" disrespect someone?

you have very very thin skin. respectfully, maybe you should chill out.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago


that is a lot to pay a BOE commissioner regardless of who he is and what his creds are.

seriously, what does the commissioner do? are we paying someone to 'suggest' things to the board members or does he actually have a decision-making capacity?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 8 months ago

Don't know precisely what the commissioner's duties are, but would suspect that someone who supervises a staff of almost 150 people who in turn oversee the disbursement of $3 billion in state funds to local school districts and the implementation of state curriculum requirements would seem to be a big responsibility.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

I, personally, am offended at John1945's assertions about the Med Center.

Did you know, John, that KUMed has on of the best burn centers in the entire country, and that the two people critically injured in this morning's fire have apparently been sent there for treatment?

Did you know that KUMed is at the forefront of research regarding controlling severe Parkinsons in patients using electrodes planted in the brain during long, complex, and excrutiatingly challenging surgeries?

Did you know that KUMed graduates hundreds of future doctors, nuses, physical therapists, and other health professional per year, and that it sets up arrangements with medical students to serve in rural areas of the state after they graduate from residency?

KUMed does an incredible amount for KCK and the state. You would be well advised to keep your trap shut when you don't know what you're talking about.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

it is a good burn center. did a service project at KU Med in the burn center and children's center.

ku med is pretty solid. good teaching hospital. took my wife's infected kidney right in time. maybe spared her life.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

Another thing that KUMed is doing for the state...reported in today's Journal-World:

This could save hundreds of lives of people would otherwise die due to devastating blood loss.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

KUMed's chief of pediatric surgery (Dr. Kurt Schropp) is nationally recognized for his work in minimally invasive surgery in children (i.e. laparoscopic surgery).

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

John1945, where did you go? Did you "run for the hills"?

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

And so the fact that they don't kill too many people and occasionally get it right justifies the occasional bows to corruption? Please. KU Med has been very controversial both in terms of the quality of care its given and its leadership.

The folks I know down there tell me that hiring is often based on political correctness and that the Adkins hiring was just the tip of the iceberg for hiring incompetents.

Indeed, speaking of incompetents, I'm told much of the current problem is a function of Hagen's mismanagement of the institution, something that in-and-of-itself is becoming a tradition amongst the directors of that institution.

I'd go to my vet before I'd check into the Dead Center.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

No, I didn't run for the hills. Explain Adkins competency to be a Vice-Chancellor. Show me in his past where he earned (keyword here, earned) anything above a $20,000.00 a year salary. Show me who the competitors were for his "job". In fact, his "job" is as an assistant to someone who no longer works there. How do you explain that? How much have they spent sending him around the state to campaign at our expense? What is his job description, Captain?

One would expect more than one faculty member to be of national reknown at a major university research hospital. Is Dr. Schropp the only one you can think of? There ought to be dozens, if not a hundred or so.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

"The doctors are good I guess"????? That's the recommendation for this joint?

I'm not sure, and I don't know if he's around, but if I recall, I think Wendt's angst stems in large part from his claim that they killed a few folks off down there during his tenure owing to the incompetence of the medical staff.

Does anyone else remember what he had to say about that? Keep in mind here that I'm hardly an apologist for Wendt's views of the world, but from what I've seen of that discussion it has a powerful ring of the truth to it.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm no fan of Adkins, and I can't defend what he does. I have no idea what his job description is either.

All I know is that I personally have had good experiences at KU Med.

Also, I'm not a fan of the idea that someone doesn't 'earn' something. It smacks of jealousy - and in particular, with Atkins, there are a lot more things to say other than he hasn't 'earned' his salary.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm neither a member of the KUMed faculty/staff nor a student, so my knowledge of the exact number of nationally recognized faculty doesn't exist. I just happen to know about Dr. Schropp specifically.

"And so the fact that they don't kill too many people and occasionally get it right justifies the occasional bows to corruption?" Do you expect no one to die at a hospital? Please name for me one hospital where no one dies. Death is a part of life, and no hospital or doctor can stop that.

I was not trying to defend or detract from David Adkins' appointment. I know nothing about it. I'm just saying that you need to keep your comments about the worth of the hospital and medical center as a whole.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

wasn't Wendt's problem more regarding the fact that the AG's office back then 'covered up' the wrongdoing?

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm delighted you've had good experiences at KU Med. I'm sure that many, many people have. But you're the one who was so concerned with Corkins salary, which as has been pointed out is one with great responsibility, and yet I show you one that's a complete waste of the taxpayers dollars, and you tell me that there's more to say about Adkins than he hasn't earned his salary.

In the context of your previous discussion above concerning the value of Corkins job, what would that be?

rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

Corkins, IF it were up to me gets one year in the job & if he DOES NOT improve our education, OUT he goes with no pension or benefits.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, what I meant to say at the end of my last post was "I'm just saying that you need to keep your comments about David Adkins separate from your commments about the worth of the hospital and medical center as a whole "

If you're interested in the prior problems at KUMed, the KCMO City Auditor's office has an audit (from several years ago) online about it.

I'm not saying there have never been problems, but it's not a hospital that kills people. It's a good hospital.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

I suspect Wendt's secondary problem was with a whole lot of people who turned a blind eye to his allegations, but his allegations were, and I'm waiting for anyone to correct me on this, that they killed some folks off due to negligence and incompetence in the heart unit. Am I wrong here?

Wendt, oh Wendt. Isn't that just like a liberal, there's never one around when you need one.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

I believe that's what the KCMO audit is about. You should go check it out.

But, those problems don't exist anymore, as far as I know.

rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

In other words, Adkins & Corkins are two peas in a pod. Auditing BOTH of these LOSERS would be IDEAL. Then we'll see if both men were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm not out to do a number on KU Med. I'm sure they do a lot of wonderful work, but that doesn't justify sticking your head in the sand when there are problems and Adkins is a clear indicator that there are major problems in the hiring of staff at that institution. That would affect every department down there.

And I'm just telling you that if the JW wants to whine about Corkins, Adkins is an even worse case scenario and yet stone silence. Where's the series of articles on Adkins. Where's the story on how much he's spending of our tax dollars to scoot around and campaign for whatever the next office he wants to run for? I don't see them, and if you check the JW's library, I don't think you'll find them either.

I tell you, if there are problems at KU Med and Wendt's concerns are legitimate, they ought not be swept under the carpet. No institution benefits from being treated as a sacred cow. That's when they stop doing good and start going downhill.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

Ooh, sorry sorry sorry!

That audit was done by the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit.

Sorry!!! It is audit # 95PA56. You can go online and request a copy.


avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

This is the abstract of that audit: (the problem was in the mid-90s.)

"Four hearts were turned down because of inadequate nurse staffing in May and June 1994, partly because of a shortage of nurses, and partly because the cardiothoracic surgeon had a fundamental disagreement with the nurse manager about the types of nurses who should care for his patients. Between July 1994 and March 1995, 17 hearts were turned down because of a lack of surgeons. Patients who were on, or added to, the waiting list were not informed that hearts were being rejected for non-medical reasons. Top officials of the Medical Center were aware of problems with the heart transplant program, and several knew that donor hearts were being rejected for non-medical reasons. However, these officials failed to recognize how serious the problems were and failed to take appropriate action to deal with them. A total of 14 people were on the waiting list during the period when no heart transplants were being performed. Four were removed from the list, three received transplants at other hospitals, three died, and four are on waiting lists at other hospitals.Similar problems could happen in other departments at the Medical Center because individuals who knew about problems failed to take appropriate steps to ensure the problems were effectively resolved. In addition, the lines of authority and responsibility have not been clearly communicated to Medical Center staff.Finally, heart transplants still would be available at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, if the Medical Center permanently closed its heart transplant program, although there would be some financial and other impacts on the Medical Center. "

rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

How then do we conduct regular audits against CORKY & ADKINS & hold these two JOKERS accountable?

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

Posted by rhd99 (anonymous) on October 7, 2005 at 10:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"In other words, Adkins & Corkins are two peas in a pod. Auditing BOTH of these LOSERS would be IDEAL. Then we'll see if both men were caught with their hands in the cookie jar."

I'll buy that and more. Let's get someone who's not a part of the asylum to do annual audits of a whole lot of goverment employment.

This is a lot bigger problem than just these two folks, and it should be pointed out that we don't know if Corkins is going to be a loser yet, since he hasn't even started, but audit away, you've got my vote.

I'd love to see a review of Adkins travel vouchers and see if he's been given any raises yet, etc. He's pure pork.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

Ahh, the problem at the Dead Center was in the 90's, but you don't want any oversight now to make sure it doesn't reappear?

That abstract you published is a pretty devastating critique of the place and I believe that another part of Wendt's allagations is that they underestimated the damage and didn't clean up the problem. Don't know, but if you're not a student or employee of the place you probably don't either I'm guessing.

That rascal Wendt, off lollygagging around somewhere, I'm betting.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

As I said before, I'm neither a defender nor detractor of David Adkins. I'm more than willing to admit that I don't know anything about him.

But, maybe you should study how the Medical Center currently functions and is organized before you assume the same problems still exist.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

Posted by avhjmlk (anonymous) on October 7, 2005 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As I said before, I'm neither a defender nor detractor of David Adkins. I'm more than willing to admit that I don't know anything about him.

But, maybe you should study how the Medical Center currently functions and is organized before you assume the same problems still exist.

You're on. Maybe Wendt will chime in later on this, or perhaps on another day on another topic. I'm big on research and oversight. DOn't you agree?

BOE 12 years, 8 months ago

Now the State of Kansas is paying RW lobbyists directly, instead of just corps and GOP PACs, and the primary difference is the GOP PACs were paying peanuts for experience, while the State pays 5x's as much for inexperience.

Can't wait for the $20,000+ worth evaluations on new science standards to get back and be thoroughly trashed and dismissed by the Sanctimonious Six.

Like the Morris trip to Florida, it's more money down the rathole, but none of it as egregious as paying this career lobbyist 6 figures.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

Research and oversight are critically important, as are trust and delegation.

rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

Now, one more thing, WHY is CORKY making MORE than the GOVERNOR? One word for that: RIDICULOUS!

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

Corky, AKA the Education Commissioner is making the same as the previous education commissioner.

I'd vote for a change.

rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

How can we the voters demand change for this "education commissioner"? I use that in quotes because in spite of what everyone says, this guy is NOT an expert in education by a long shot.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

I do have to say that I get pretty tired of the way the LJW sensationalizes everything...Naturally, the headline makes it sound like Corkins is going to get $115K MORE than Tompkins was, which isn't the case.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

good point avhjmlk.

I agree, Corkins is not 'qualified' like the others and is definitely a political appointment.

You can demand change by taking back a majority on the BOE (if you means moderates and democrats)

That is the only way.

usaschools 12 years, 8 months ago

Of one thing, there can be no doubt: The KS Board did NOT concern themselves with what is best for children in making this selection. They made a 100% political selection without regard for the children of this state. Shame on them and shame on anyone who supports this PURELY political appointment of someone who has no qualifications for this position.

John1945 12 years, 8 months ago

Best for the children my foot. Government schools are little more than havens for child abuse and neglect thanks to the KNEA and their educrat stooges.

Corkins is very frightening to the educrats and the teachers unions because he is an expert in school finance and the last thing they want is an outsider with access to all the dirty little secrets of hiding the actual cost of miseducating Kansas children.

He has all of the qualifications to clean this sewer up, and that's why the libs and the government school parasites are freaking out.

We need more private sector managers to become superintendents to replace the deadwood that currently infest these positions.

Incidentally, I think Marge Kaplan's salary and benefits package over in the declining Shawnee district is well over $200,000.00 a year, plus, plus, plus for those who think $140K is a big salary.

The fact that Corkins makes more money than Sebilious doesn't mean much if Corkins produces for the taxpayers of Kansas. The only thing Kathleen has done is appoint unelected, unrepresentative slugs with conflicts of interests up one side and down the other to our ludicrous "supreme" court.

Let's start managing government like we manage our private sector.

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