Archive for Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Higher amount of Kansas incomes going to schools

April 4, 2006


Kansans are contributing an increasingly large chunk of income to support public schools that are nonetheless below average in classroom spending, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday.

House Speaker Doug Mays said that should concern state residents who might have to pay even more to help the Kansas Legislature comply with a court order to increase school funding.

"If the courts have their way, we certainly will (have) a significantly larger burden" on taxpayers, he said.

State residents paid $54.17 of every $1,000 they earned to support K-12 schools - better than the national average of $50.53, good for 15th in the nation. But Kansas spent $7,518 per student, below the national average of $8,217.

The Legislature adjourned last week without passage of a spending bill. Monday's Census numbers probably won't affect the debate, said state Sen. Janis Lee, D-Kensington, the ranking member on the Senate Education Committee.

"The issue before the Kansas Legislature is to respond to the needs of the children, but also the requirements of the court," she said. "Whether (the Census) will have an effect on the court, I seriously doubt it."

Alan Rupe, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the school finance suit, agreed.

"Those numbers don't affect the debate; the debate is over the adequacy of funding as defined by the Kansas Constitution," he said.

No tourism

While Kansas has hung around the middle of the pack in per-pupil spending in recent years, ranking 31st in the newest listing, it has climbed the charts in the amount paid by state residents - from 26th in 2002 to 15th in Monday's report.

"It's hard to reconcile those two things," Mays said.

The state has relatively low incomes and property values, two sources of the taxes that pay for schools; the median cost of a home here is $83,000, compared to $119,000 nationally. That forces residents to pay a higher portion of their incomes to allow schools to keep pace with other states.

Lawrence Supt. Randy Weseman said Kansas residents are paying such a high price, in part, because the state lacks the tourism to generate income from out-of-state residents.

"To me, you don't have many choices" to increase funding, Weseman said. "You either take more of what the people are making, or you expand the infrastructure of economy to help out with that."

Does that mean offering more gambling opportunities?

"Not necessarily," Rupe said. "To me, it is a source of income. Gambling would be a source of income that wouldn't necessarily be on Kansans' shoulders."

One observer found good news in Monday's numbers. State Sen. John Vratil, the Republican vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee, noted that Kansas students typically score well on nationwide achievement tests, even with the low funding.

"It tells me," he said, "that Kansas teachers and Kansas students are doing a pretty good job."

The Legislature will return for its wrap-up session on April 26.


Jamesaust 11 years, 9 months ago

ljreader - this isn't a mystery.

Seeing that Kansans make up just short of 1% of the U.S. population, I would estimate based on this estimate of expenses that Kansans (including of course those who are not U.S. citizens but are residents of Kansas) spent about $112 million on these children. Using the per pupil spending quoted in this article, that would translate to 14,900 such children in Kansas (as part of a total enrollment of 437,000), or a bit over 3%. So, Kansas schools are impacted by 3%.

Of course, I suspect that the quoted figures from a racist organization like "FAIR" might be a tad high. Perhaps in the future we can stick to more accurate sources, like perhaps the KKK.

mom_of_three 11 years, 9 months ago

Too bad they couldn't break those figures by county or school district. It would be nice to see how much we pay compare to other districts.

erichaar 11 years, 9 months ago

Why are an increasing number of Kansas families choosing private schools and homeschooling?

bankboy119 11 years, 9 months ago

James you can't just take into account that Kansans are just under 1% of the population of the USA. You really need to estimate how many illegals are here vs how many are in the USA. If, say, Kansas has 5% of the illegals(way too high I think) then we are actually spending an estimated $1.35 billion dollars.

Jamesaust 11 years, 9 months ago

bankboy's estimates seem to me far too high.

Estimates of the numbers of undocumented aliens in this country range from about 10 million to as high as 20 million. Taking a fairly reasonable number - say, 12 million - if Kansas had 5% then there would be 600,000 aliens in the state, or nearly 1/4 of all residents. Combined with Hispanic U.S. citizens (Hispanics being by far the largest portion), that would leave Kansas with perhaps as much as a third Hispanic. If a quick perusal of the surnames in the telephone book (yes, most aliens have a telephone) leads one to doubt that Hispanics make up this large of percentage then we can conclude that bankboy's estimates are high.

Kansas has a BELOW-AVERAGE number aliens. This is because such persons are attracted by three factors: economic vitality (they are here to work after all), urbanization (its easy to hide in a crowd), and proximity to a transportation source - the Mexican border, a seaport, or an airport (airports are the most common arrival point for aliens despite attention to the physical border). Kansas has NONE of these factors.

The best, and quite old by now, estimate by state comes from 1996. While California was estimated then to have 2 million such aliens, Kansas was estimated to have 20,000. While California may have doubled in a decade I doubt that Kansas has. Even so, if Kansas now has 40,000 such non-green-card aliens, and assuming 1/3 are children, that gives 13,320 children - very close to my earlier estimate of 14,900, which I identified as too high. More likely, Kansas has 25,000 aliens, resulting in roughly 9,000 children, or approximately 2% of students enrolled in public schools (non-kindergarten). (And most of those will be concentrated in urbanized districts such as KCK or Wichita, or in localized mid-size places like Garden City or Liberal.)

Jamesaust 11 years, 9 months ago

Das_Ubermime - I thank you for your comments. But if your formula is jobs= economic vitality + low-skill work, then Kansas still fails as it most certainly does not have economic vitality. And if an immigrant is just looking for low-skill jobs, those can be found anywhere - why go looking in Kansas of all places? Low-skill (a relative term) work exists everywhere; high-skill work is very concentrated. This explains why little WashD.C. and Connecticut can have the highest wages in the country but also some of the highest concentrations of illegal aliens - low wages in Connecticut would be a decent wage in Kansas.

And while I-35 (and no doubt I-70) aid anyone who wants to come to Kansas (whomever that might be), I would point out that I-35 also eases the people right on through to their more likely destinations, particularly urban centers north and east (particularly Chicago - one of THE main Hispanic centers outside of the southwest).

Here, in order, are the top states for undocumented aliens according to the Census Bureau. Please note how many can be characterized as "high wage" states: 1. California 2. Texas 3. New York 4. Florida 5. Illinois 6. New Jersey 7. Arizona 8. Massachusetts 9. Virginia 10.Washington (State) 11.Colorado 12.Maryland 13.Michigan 14.Pennsylvania 15.New Mexico 16.Puerto Rico 17.Oregon 18.Georgia 19.D.C. 20.Connecticut 21.Nevada 22.Ohio 23.North Carolina 24.Louisiana 25.Oklahoma 26.KANSAS

Kansas is therefore just average in the number of aliens (probably like a lot of other things). CA and TX contain about a third of the total. The next 19 (+ PR) states contain another third. The remainder - 29/50 states, including KS - contain the final third. I also note that the 69 square miles of Washington, D.C., contain about 50% more aliens than Kansas. Even if one believes these children cost local schools money in the short-run (disputed but also inarguably a benefit in the long-run), they don't cost Kansas school much at all - certainly an insignificant factor in the statistics addressed in this article, and even then in the limited districts I noted earlier.

(Granted, we're no North Dakota - thought to have less than 1,000 aliens - which competes in a league with only South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Perhaps Kansas should work to compete with these economic backwaters? We'd have to slow our economy down, depopulate our cities, and physically locate ourselves even closer to the Artic.)

bankboy119 11 years, 9 months ago

My estimate was way too high, I threw out 5% because the math was easy to do. If we had 1% of the immigrants we would still be paying $27 million per year. That's more than I make or ever got from the state.

staff04 11 years, 9 months ago

I have an idea...

Does anyone know how much revenue from the lottery goes to schools?


You sir, in the back...

Yes, that's right!

Folks, the answer is zero dollars of lottery revenue goes to fund public education. The little bodega across the street from my apartment in Virginia accounted for over $27,000 last year that went directly to fund education...

I don't think the problem is a lack of tourism...

KsTwister 11 years, 9 months ago

Where Kansas Gambling Money goes???

Gaming Revenues Fund - Fiscal Year 2005 Economic Development Initiatives Fund $42,432,000

Juvenile Detention Facilities Fund $2,496,000

Correctional Institutions Building Fund $4,992,000

Problem Gambling Grant Fund $80,000

State General Fund $15,409,441

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 9 months ago

It tells me they don't need any more money! USD 343, I have the poor luck to live within their boundaries, drives a huge $ 100,000 bus less than 1/3 loaded to Topeka so the poor underfunded students can play golf. Keep fighting against it, but ur gonna get even more screwed. I'm moving to Texas this summer, I've had enough. Thank you, Lynn

Jay_Z 11 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, those illegal aliens sure are a benefit to the state. sarcasm

"While Kansas has hung around the middle of the pack in per-pupil spending in recent years, ranking 31st in the newest listing, it has climbed the charts in the amount paid by state residents - from 26th in 2002 to 15th in Monday's report."

How can this be? Is there any accountability for how the money is spent? Always wanting more, more, are we to be sure the money is spent wisely, in a way that directly benefits the student's learning. I don't see it happening--the system is screwed up in my opinion.

KsTwister 11 years, 9 months ago

As hilarious as voters in Jackson County voting yes to fixing the stadiums but no to a rolling roof.Comments by the press said a later election in the year may put it to a vote again. What part of NO did they not understand????Who decided that the votes of the people are wrong anyway.

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