Archive for Friday, December 18, 2009

Schools turn to Supreme Court

December 18, 2009


— Reeling under state education budget cuts, dozens of Kansas school districts have decided to ask the Kansas Supreme Court to weigh in on school funding.

Members of a coalition of more than 70 school districts voted unanimously Friday on a resolution to ask the Supreme Court to reopen a lawsuit filed in 1999. It led to Kansas Supreme Court orders in 2005 and 2006 that forced aid increases to public schools.

The group, called Schools for Fair Funding, represents 168,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

It wants the court to decide whether the funding formula that legislators created in response to the suit and this year’s state education budget cuts are constitutional, said John Robb, lead attorney for the coalition. He said in a phone interview Friday night that the districts view the litigation as the “lesser of two evils.”

The Kansas Department of Education estimates the total reductions in general state aid to districts at $241 million compared to 2009 levels.

Reopening the old lawsuit is unusual, but would cut six months off the time it would typically take for a case to go to trial, Robb said.

Three Wichita school board members who attended the meeting said they supported the resolution.

Attorneys with the coalition said they anticipate a motion would be filed within the next month.

Should the Supreme Court deny the request, Schools for Fair Funding members authorized the filing of a new lawsuit to address school finances.


doubledogleg 8 years, 5 months ago

please provide a list of those school distircts that are suing to raise taxes on their own patrons. that's pretty offensive when you think about it.

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 5 months ago

The state cannot mandate compulsory education and then not fund it. GWB may have tried it with "No Child Left Behind" (the emptiest piece of education legislation I have ever seen) but it doesn't work at the state level. They have every right to request the State Supreme Court to step in.

BigPrune 8 years, 5 months ago

Why can't they stop spending money on stupid stuff? It's like kiddies in a candy store, and every year, they want more money for the candy.

They need to pay the teachers a decent wage and stop paying for the rolls royce of facilities -when they build a facility, and they need to cut back on their huge high priced administration.

Now they sue.

kansasmutt 8 years, 5 months ago

Prune is right. Anyone can look back and see that schools were built to last and thought out until the late 70s when they started to build disposable schools , that look like fancy Vegas casinos. The waste in the school systems is HUGE ,too the tune of BILLIONS. Huge land purchases , where land used to be donated by people because schools were responsible and run right, but now nobody will leave then crap , because they are huge waste machines who keep us taxed to death . They (school districts) should have saved for the lean times, but didn’t and now they want to sue, screw them. Learn to live within your means like other businesses and the people who pay for the schools (taxpayers) . Look at Pinckney school in Lawrence. Built back in the 50s and still going strong on only a few acres , not 20 city blocks and it is 2 stories tall and efficient as hell.

getreal 8 years, 5 months ago

Those of you who think your taxes are high from schools are being duped by those in the Kansas Legislature who what you to think that while they hand out tax breaks to their friends like it was candy.

It is time for the legislature to stop handing out all these corporate tax breaks and loopholes. The legislature has been increasing the average Joe's taxes by shifting the tax burden to all of us who don't have a lobbyist in Topeka to beg for an exemption. Each time they do this we have to pay increased fees and taxes for the services the state should be providing. Why in the world is there no sales tax on bingo cards and lottery tickets, are these necessities? Why no sales tax on advertising or legal services - so big business can shove their newest product down our throats? An animal shelter in MO doesn't have to pay sales tax in Kansas, but Kansas animal shelters do. And very recently the Ks legislature wanted to exempt hunting and fishing excursions from sales tax.

The state has money to pay for schools, the disabled, and our roads they simply keep giving it away to every corporation with a high paid lobbyist and we the average citizen end up paying the price.

Don't blame schools for your high taxes, take a look at the $4billion and yes that's billions of ANNUAL sales tax exemptions that the legislature is handing out to whomever comes to Topeka to buy them lunch.

If the average citizen doesn't stand up and demand that this practice of corporate tax loopholes be stopped, then you will continue to pay the price and soon it won't only be high property taxes, it will be uneducated citizens, your disabled neighbor dying and highways you can die on.

Do the research!

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Kansasmutt's comments are so typical of Kansas. Nobody donates anything any longer, and even if one such charitable soul were to exist, nobody owns the right amount of vacant space in the right locations to donate that meets standards for new school construction. Land has to be obtained ahead of where children will one day live (it's a science with real data and real standards underlying, people!).

And can you imagine what a donated school would look like, with donated land and materials and construction? If it actually got built, it would be in somebody's swamp and would look like most of the clumsy sheds that populate backyards, tilting and leaning with peeling paint. And as far as poor school construction starting in the 1970s? No! It began with the post-WW II building boom that resulted in lots of plaster-and-chicken-wire construction, and it's those schools--along with very old schools unable to handle today's electrical and other infrastructure needs--that cause schools to need abandonment. And no, we can't build two-story schools unless you have enough influence to wipe out ADA standards regarding handicap access--I have an idea: why don't YOU donate the elevator required in the two-story mining shack you want to build! They cost a few $100k--no problem, right? And schools that look like Vegas casinos? Exactly which ones would that be? Maybe you were "educated" in a mine shack, but I wasn't nor were my children.

Now, regarding taxed to death? No! Your effective school property tax burden is half the amount it was in your beloved 1980s when school tax rates in Kansas ranged from a low of single-digit mills in Burlington to a high of triple-digit mills in suburban Kansas City (mind you, I said mills--not dollars--but I wouldn't expect you to understand the distinction. Wait! I have another idea to help you understand: why don't we reduce your income growth since 1980 by the same proportion as your school tax burden has been reduced--would you like that? Let me explain simply--I propose we cut your 2009 pay by about 50% and leave your school taxes the same as today's--at that point you would LOSE all your current school tax benefit gained from wage growth and declining taxes).

And as far as the rest of your ideas, there's no point wasting more space here like the space I've already burned--by now you've either quit reading, or read this far and failed to understand, or are so closed-minded that there's no point in wasting further logic and fact. Actually, you and your ilk are a plague on this state--but sadly, your gleeful penury puts you in vast company whose unevolved mental date stamp is somewhere around 1799 A.D. (that's too generous-- maybe 1799 B.C.)--truly, you should be ashamed. Oh well, I'm ashamed for you and that will have to suffice. (I suppose one must find humor where possible, but really--screen names evoking images of mutts and prunes? How typically Kansas).

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 5 months ago

Increase court fees, get rid of exempting vehicles from property taxes, start taxing KU Athletics type groups, and KU Endowment type groups.

REALLY look into consolidating school districts.

Finance- by the way you wrote your post - which school district do you or your significant other work for?

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 5 months ago

It is hard to say you are taxed to death when taxes are significantly lower today than they were in 1998.

notajayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

getreal (Anonymous) says…

"It is time for the legislature to stop handing out all these corporate tax breaks and loopholes. The legislature has been increasing the average Joe's taxes by shifting the tax burden to all of us who don't have a lobbyist in Topeka to beg for an exemption."

Such a blatantly stupid statement - a product of Kansas public education, no doubt?

Um - notreal - who do you think is going to be picking up the tab if the state takes away those exemptions - you think those corporations are going to eat the difference or pass on the additional expense to the 'average Joe'?

Personally, I'm glad to see this case reopened. Maybe the court will get it right this time and send the school districts packing.

That's a long shot, I know - but if they rule against the legislature and pull another number out of their a** saying that's what it would take to fund the schools adequately, I can't wait to hear the whining, wailing, and sputtering when the legislature says 'Okay, we'll give you back the money for schools. We'll take it out of Medicaid.'

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 5 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

if they rule against the legislature and pull another number out of their a** saying that's what it would take to fund the schools adequately,

A nice summary, provided by the Legislative Research department, may be found here.

The court did not pull a number out its a**, the Legislature did. The court merely reminded the Legislature of that.

This topic is rife for vigorous debate, but the discussion should be based upon reality and not phony talking points intended to denigrate one side or the other. One such phony talking point is the court pulled a number out if its a**.

Mary Darst 8 years, 5 months ago

Finance. I'm not real sure what all you just said, but I am sure that I agree.
.I'm just not real sure how these schools can live up to the standards expected. With all the cuts in budget ,there will be fewer teachers, .larger classrooms. In my building we have three teachers a that are leaving and they will not be replaced. We have a substantial number of at risk kids, who could lose the help they need, because of other jobs that could be cut. And they are included in the testing and standards as well. It is going to come down to making some very hard choices. Schools are already cutting some sports and other activities to help lower their expenses. No doubt that is going to upset alot of people. This is a very dire situation....I sure don't have the answers, I just understand that these cuts affect a WHOLE of people.

purplesage 8 years, 5 months ago

We all know the state is out of money. So, they try the lawsuit, while expending millions in legal fees of tax money. Then they have even less money for underfunded education. It won't help to win a lawsuit if the money isn't there. Not difficult.

matix 8 years, 5 months ago

"Reeling under state education budget cuts"

Where are the cuts??

Kansas expenditures on education in recent years:

2006: $ 5.5 BILLION 2007: $ 5.8 BILLION 2008: $ 6.15 BILLION 2009: $ 6.4 BILLION


StrangerCreek 8 years, 5 months ago

They need to stop spending all that money on the state house in Topka. Everybody got a new office desk set and the rest of us got the shaft.

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

In response to charliejohnson: Given the scorched earth playing field being legislatively created through the simultaneous increase in federal/state pupil achievement standards and the horrible decimation of school revenues via a decade of insane state tax cuts now resulting in loss of state formula aid to Kansas K-12 education, schools ARE being set up to fail. So, in the end analysis you're right--schools will not be able to succeed without severe reversal in state legislative behavior (and make no mistake: schools are a state responsibility [not federal or local], meaning the state is now the problem when it should be the solution). The sad part is there is no cause for having to make the hard choices you describe. The even sadder part is that many people seem glad, even virtuous, about the circumstance--at least if not glad, then totally unwilling to see the harm or do anything about it.

The situation need not be dire at all because a wide and well-balanced state tax policy that reverses the decade-long intent to destroy compassionate state government would fix everything nearly overnight--of course, we've come to the midnight hour and no tax policy change can immediately overcome the harm done over time. But at least a change of heart would set a wrongheaded state on a path of healing its self-inflicted wounds. The "dire" aspect comes in that tax policy has been allowed to sink to its present depth.

We'll see with unmistakable clarity in this next legislative session how many true statespersons continue to exist in Kansas. This state's recent saving grace from total damnation has been a small group of Democrats and Republicans who have bolted at the last minute from the zealotry of party lines and corporate marching orders--i.e., they have had sufficient courage not to be bullied into meekness or oblivion and have actually voted on conscience and foresightedness. When that happens, neither extreme has absolute power, and actual issues of social policy stand a chance of survival. While many politicians will be going to Topeka in the spring having already made up their minds and having sworn to continue the tax decimation, schools' only hope is that enough people of courage will once again stand up to this firestorm.

In response to purplesage: One final comment--the state is out of money because it long ago meant to be so. And it is not pointless to sue someone with empty pockets, particularly when it is a government which can indeed refill its pockets with the stroke of a pen. What I find particularly sad is that the costs of a lawsuit only add to the cost of the likely outcome--i.e., legal fees AND a restoration of state support for schools. But even if by some chance the state was not forced to restore aid to schools, children would continue to be the losers--something I think is implicit in your meaning about the costs of any upcoming litigation.

volunteer 8 years, 5 months ago

Can we expect Justice Lawton Nuss to avoid disgracing himself and the Court this time?

Kathy Theis-Getto 8 years, 5 months ago

The state constitution doesn't say, 'Do this in good times,' it says, 'Do this.' It is the state's responsibility to do this and they have shirked their responsibility by cutting these funds.

It is sad that anyone in this state would choose to stop educating our children as a solution to the recession, but hasn't that been the way all along - the wealthy classes using education against the working classes? I read somewhere that proposed if public education were a case of spousal abuse, it would have long ago been placed in a safety shelter - it has been, and continues to be, attacked, misused and deprived. And who is trying to destroy public education? Ask Sam Brownback and his religious right bed-fellows.

As for the weak repetitive reference to astroturf - Joseph Goebbel would be proud.

kugrad 8 years, 5 months ago

Matix, You need to understand the data you are looking at. The topic of discussion here is funding for PUBLIC SCHOOLS, primarily KG-12. The data you are citing includes ALL education, from preschool through College, Jr. College, Vocational-technical schools, and probably even some extension agencies. It could possibly include the State Dept. of Education itself. It is NOT data that includes only public schools kg-12. It is also unaudited. In addition, the fiscal year starts in July on that website, but expenditures are reported annually. The school districts also have July 1 to June 30 fiscal years, so reporting annual data is going to be inaccurate. Now, the basic argument you are making, or at least the logical extention of your question, is that there are not actually cuts being made to schools. This is patently ridiculous, as every newspaper in the state, large and small, have reported on the issues their local districts face from cuts. The cuts have been huge. The federal government has been using Kansas as an example when talking with states about education; an example of what NOT to do. Kansas legislatures have ignored the intention of the ARRA (stimulus act) and have gutted funding of schools as far as they could (down to 2006 levels) without losing federal stimulus dollars. As a result, the stimulus dollars won't stimulate anything, they will just create a break-even scenario where people lose jobs the federal government intervened to help them keep. So many of the posters who show up on every education-related story and post arguments against public education have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. I applaud you for at least doing some research and asking a reasonble question. I hope my post helps you understand that these cuts are real, significant, and harmful to public education.

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Actually, the constitution does say to do it, and not only in good times--"bad times" is so irrelevant as an excuse for flagrant and willful disobedience. If you don't love your children (and the children of others) enough to see to it that they don't suffer in bad times as a consequence of adult tax irresponsibility, then you shouldn't have any children. Fortunately, there are those of us who will take care of your children. Or, as an afterthought, maybe you are the callous example of someone with no children who could care less about those who do have children.

Kathy Theis-Getto 8 years, 5 months ago


80% + of the government budget in almost every state is made up of schools and social services, so yes, if the pain, deliberately manufactured by the legislature, is to be shared, it will be shared by the young, the sick and the elderly. Now, that's pathetic.

wastewatcher 8 years, 5 months ago

How much will attorney John Robb make this time, probably more than last time. We all want to fund our schools properly, but when the tax recipients - school personnel- are living better than the taxpaying citizens, we have a problem.. Lets get back to the basics in education and fund it properly.

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Oh, absolutely they live better than "taxpaying citizens"--as if teachers are a superior class apart who somehow don't pay taxes too? We all readily "see" how educators live soooo high despite such low levels of professional (excuse me, blue-collar) preparation; in truth, many beginning classroom teachers qualify for food stamps! And leave John Robb out of it: he isn't an educator, and his salary isn't part of the comparison. And even if educators are doing relatively okay, we're really talking here as a society about wanting to make sure teachers are "put in their lowly place"--translation, subservient to society...a true servile class. After all, anyone can teach, right? All it takes is a bachelor's degree, a license, in some cases a master's degree, or more--etc. Easy! Easy! Easy! Why isn't everybody a teacher?

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm waiting for the legislature to step up and amend the constitution to prevent taxing and spending decisions being made via lawsuits. The consitution is flawed. Fix it.

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

The legislature can't unilaterally amend the state constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority vote on a ballot question by the general electorate. Fortunately, it's nearly impossible to get 66% of anybody to agree on anything. If it were easy, we'd have green Easter bunnies as Halloween mascots and Republicans as saviors--there are nutcases out there who would view either of these two potential changes as a social positive--I guess that's how Brownback manages to survive--the notion that idiotic is somehow reasonable. Thank God our state constitution isn't quite as subject to frivolous attack as you believe.

windex 8 years, 5 months ago

wastewatcher: "when the tax recipients - school personnel- are living better than the taxpaying citizens, we have a problem.."

Hello? School personnel ARE taxpaying citizens. The majority are teachers, paras (aides), custodians, maintenance workers and secretaries. None of these are high paying jobs, and all of these folks pay taxes.

deskboy04 8 years, 5 months ago

Consolidate schools! That would save a lot of money. There are hundreds of school districts, each with a lot of administrators that don't have contact with kids.

windex 8 years, 5 months ago

No, that's called equity. If you're part of the biggest slice of the budget pie, you get to do your part to help balance that budget.

I call BS. You don't demand sacrifices from kindergarteners and nursing home residents and 6th grade kids and autistic teenagers to balance the state budget. That's the responsibility of able-bodied grown-ups. But some grown-ups can't seem to see past their own self-centered little universe. They refuse to accept responsibility for anything greater than their own wants and needs, and they whine a lot about having to pay taxes. Boo-hoo. Grow up, already.

leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

Another word....stupid. So the Supreme Court is responsible for state funding now. They got away with that in 1999 so they are going to try it again?

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 5 months ago

"leedavid (Anonymous) says… Another word….stupid. So the Supreme Court is responsible for state funding now. They got away with that in 1999 so they are going to try it again?"

State funded education is a part of our states constitution and constitutional issues are decided by the state supreme court. Educational funding equals constitutional issue which equals supreme court.... hmmm, seems fairly obvious to me.

leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

Eride; so the amount of educational funding provided by the legislature is a Kansas state constitutional issue overseen by the supreme I love this world you live in. No separation of powers there.

notajayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"The court did not pull a number out its a**, the Legislature did. The court merely reminded the Legislature of that."

Yeah, thanks for pointing that out, bobbie. Essentially the way it went was 1) the legislature said we're going to spend this much, 2) the legislature said no, we're going to spend less, 3) the schools b*d and said 'Hey, you said you were going to give us more so we're suing, 4) the Court said 'Give then the first number, not the second one.'

The amount the legislature first determined was, essentially, arbitrary. So was the second. The Court chose between those two arbitrary numbers. Pretty much makes their choice arbitrary.

finance (Anonymous) says…

"In response to charliejohnson: Given the scorched earth playing field being legislatively created through the simultaneous increase in federal/state pupil achievement standards and the horrible decimation of school revenues via a decade of insane state tax cuts now resulting in loss of state formula aid to Kansas K-12 education, schools ARE being set up to fail."

Uh huh.

Except for that little detail that there's no correlation between school spending and achievement. Except in that magical land of Oz most Democrats (and 'educators') seem to live in where it's simply impossible to fix anything without raising taxes and throwing money at the problem. And oh, yeah - that land where you should be "taking care of" my children.

"Why isn't everybody a teacher?"

Maybe 'cause we don't want to be you?

Valkyrie_of_Reason (Kathy Getto) says…

"80% + of the government budget in almost every state is made up of schools and social services, so yes, if the pain, deliberately manufactured by the legislature, is to be shared, it will be shared by the young, the sick and the elderly. Now, that's pathetic."

'Deliberately manufactured by the legislature?' Seriously?

Psssst - hey, val - there's a recession. Surprised you haven't heard about it, it's been in all the papers.

deskboy04 8 years, 5 months ago

The conservatives cut a lot of taxes. That was fine as long as the economy was moving along. But now they have a problem...there isn't enough money, and people do like their schools and social services.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 5 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

The amount the legislature first determined was, essentially, arbitrary. So was the second. The Court chose between those two arbitrary numbers. Pretty much makes their choice arbitrary.

Blatantly and woefully wrong.

The Legislature, first with no prodding through litigation and then with prodding through litigation, on its own accord created law and set guidelines where it determined what "suitable funding" for K-12 education was.

Why did they do that? Because all past attempts to fund K-12 education had been arbitrary. They did that so they would stop using arbitrary numbers. How laughable to refer to the results of that process as "arbitrary". How laughable but also how sad.

It is also false to say "the court" chose between those two numbers, false because it completely ignores the historical events and the process of the litigation. Only a simpleton would make such a claim.

By the way - "The court" did nothing; this was legally binding litigation. If you want to blame somebody, blame the plaintiffs and their lawyers for winning the case. Or blame the state's attorneys for losing it.

kansasmutt 8 years, 5 months ago

(finance and others who seem to live a sheltered life) The 80s, hummm. OK, you say school taxes were higher in the 80s (percentage and totals) I dont know what you are smoking, but i do hope you share it with others. Example. My home total tax bill was $286.00 a year give or take $20.00 The city and county got about 1/2 of that , the school got the other 1/2 Fast forward to 2008. My total tax bill is $2,265.00 a year. The split up on it is The city and county get $430.00 of it. The rest goes to the school district. (aprox 75% vs 50% of the 80s) The mill rate for the school district jumps no less than 3 mills a year and the city only gets to raise the mill rate 1 mill a year due to the schools keeping taxation so high. You want an example of a school that is built like a vegas Casino? Look at any school built in douglas county in the past 10 years. You see designs and art that cost millions, you see new sports complexes being built with millions of taxpayer dollars ( no donated land or money to build complexes like decades ago ) You see green space that rivals NASA`s space to keep you clear of a shuttle launch. Now you say the schools built post WWII were crap and cheap ? HUMMMMM those are still being used today and very functional. Are they state of the art, No, but can they still teach in them Yes. In closing. You and your type are why this nation is failing to turn out smart and savy kids from our schools. You are teaching them "you have to have the best and most costly things to be on top " and that is destroying our very core of this country. Yes, it starts with kids at a young age and you are setting an example that is false and costing everyone billions.Again, you and your type of mindset have led to such a waste of money and waste of property.You were most likely raised wealthy and born after the 70s . I would guess your age to be around 30 to 35 years old, and pretty well off and in a nice $250.000.00 to $500.000.00 home ..

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

WHO are the delinquent property owners?

Why aren't they paying? Why are other taxpayers expected to float these taxes?

Are builders and developers STILL being granted a special privilege of NOT paying? If so how is that? Isn't this more of taxpayers subsidizing an industry? If so WHY?

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

kansasmutt (well-named): you and I don't belong on the same planet (i.e., your last post grandly pretending to be able to guess my politics, my finances, and my other personal demographics). Since we have nothing further to talk about -- ever-- in this lifetime, I will set one small piece of the record straight so that you at least will be shown to be a poor psychic as well as a roundly misguided citizen. First, I'm not a school teacher or a Democrat (you clearly believe I'm both). Second, I'm actually 58 years old (in direct denial of your naive claim about my "coddled" life being related to being young and mistaught and overprivileged)--everything I have was earned through lots of education and lots of hard work. Third, the price of my home is none of your damn business--I'm not jealous of yours (God forbid), and your jealousy of how I "might" live is as obviously green as my stomach when I contemplate the depressing world you'd construct if left to your own foolish devices. Goodbye. Have a happy happy as possible in a backward state.

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Quoting notajayhawk: "Except for that little detail that there's no correlation between school spending and achievement."

Excuse me? Wrong! Plenty of data make the correlation beyond mere superstition or even speculation. Actually, the analysis goes well beyond simple correlation to reach inferential results, saying that proportional changes in per-pupil spending result in measurable differences in student achievement. Translation: when school spending went up, so did pupil achievement. Conversely, if spending goes down, every indicator suggests that pupil achievement will suffer. Quit making assumptions you're highly unlikely to be qualified to proffer. The bottom line is that Kansas can be instantaneously even more backward by deliberately choosing to reduce spending on education.

notajayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

finance (Anonymous) says…

Quoting notajayhawk: “Except for that little detail that there's no correlation between school spending and achievement.”

"Excuse me? Wrong! Plenty of data make the correlation beyond mere superstition or even speculation. ... Translation: when school spending went up, so did pupil achievement."

Uh huh.

From the abstract:

"A small but statistically significant, negative correlation existed between spending and achievement in every subject in every grade level, with the exception of grade 11, where there was no significant correlation between the variables. An implication is that giving schools more money does not necessarily raise student achievement, probably because the majority of school funds are used for personnel costs."

"More teachers with advanced degrees and more experience, and more teachers per student, should lead to better educational outcomes. The evidence, however, does not support that conclusion. During the same quarter-century that these educational resources were being increased, student achievement remained flat, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)"

"Recent studies reinforce the disconnect between spending and achievement. For example, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) “Report Card on American Education, a State-by-State Analysis 1976– 2000” concluded that “it is clear after studying the data and results that the policies of the past have failed to meet the educational needs of our country’s children. If we continue to spend more money on the existing educational system in an attempt to buy our way to better student achievement, we will condemn another generation of students to mediocrity.” The ALEC study showed no correlation between conventional measures of educational inputs (such as expenditures per pupil and teacher salaries) and educational outputs (such as scores on standardized tests). Simply stated, increased funding does not translate into improved achievement."

[More information from the same ALEC study can be found here: ]

"Overall, the results do not indicate strong relationships between per pupil funds and student achievement. All first order correlations for elementary, middle, and senior high school levels are small in magnitude and most are not statistically significant (see Table 2)."

finance (Anonymous) says…

"Quit making assumptions you're highly unlikely to be qualified to proffer."

At least I can read, finance. Maybe the state didn't spend enough on your education?

notajayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Bob_Keeshan (Anonymous) says…

"The Legislature, first with no prodding through litigation and then with prodding through litigation, on its own accord created law and set guidelines where it determined what “suitable funding” for K-12 education was."

And yet when they handed out the money, somehow that wasn't "suitable." And that's what it boils down to, isn't it, bobbie? For all your attempts at twisting and spinning, the KS Constitution says " The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state." Funny, I see no mention of a dollar figure in Article 6. That $143 million was what the court ordered because that's what they ruled - and this is from that "nice summary" you linked to above, bobbie - "whether the Legislature has met its constitutional obligations" based on outcome measures - what the Legislature "estimat[ed] how much it would cost school districts to meet educational performance outcome standards set by the State Board of Education."

1 - Did you happen to notice the word "estimating", bobbie?

2 - No matter how formulaic the process, the outcomes-based approach is based on what the BOE, not the legislature, mandated. In other words, the BOE said 'This is what we want the school districts to do so this is how much money you have to give them.'

3 - Since there is NO correlation between spending and outcomes, again, no matter how formulaic the process, you are still trying to reach an arbitrary goal. You can have all the complex computations and guidelines you want based on what it takes to get to point "X" - if "X" is arbitrary, so is the rest of the process.

You know, bobbie, maybe us 'simpletons' can teach you a little bit of common sense. I doubt it, you've never shown any capacity for improving in that area in the past, but hey, what's life without hope?

See, many of us 'simpletons' don't give a rat's petute if the school districts want to divide up the chunk of change we give them through our taxes - property taxes, GR funds, paying off bonds, it really makes no difference, it's still coming out of our wallets - into capital outlays and operating funds. This is an obscenity that only happens in the public sector. If you'd ever held a job in the private sector, I wonder how you would have reacted when your employer tried to tell you that sales were down, and they couldn't meet payroll because they had to use the money to build that new office building. Most of us 'simpletons,' bobbie, think it's ridiculous to spend money on new ballfields when you can't pay the teachers, or on performing arts buildings when you can't bus the kids to school (I don't remember any mention in Article 6 mandating those expenditures, bobbie.). Only in the public sector do you get to say 'Hey, we squandered the money you gave us, so you have to raise taxes and give us more.' Of course, when your livelihood depends on such lunacy, it all makes sense to you.

kansasmutt 8 years, 5 months ago

Wow, finance. I didnt see you defend your figures on taxation. I figured you to be a republican for sure, dont know how you even got on that democrat issue anyway, nothing was said about political views.Like most republicans , to change the subject , or to bash the others is so common anyway.You took what i said out of context, like republicans allways do anyway, but thats cool. The issue still stands that people who think what is going on in the school districts in this area , is great and the money being spent is ok, are living in a world that is very messed up.It is so fake and so far left, it is going to mess our kids up for generations. I being in my 50s have seen it first hand what kids think this day and age, and it is sad to see.They come out of school thinking they have to make 100K a year , but dont need to work for it, that it will just happen. I know this from being a business owner and trying to hire kids this day and age.Call me old fassioned, but the schools do not teach what kids need today, street smarts about real life. The fancy schools misslead them to think money grows on trees and all you have to do is reach out and grab it. Just think, if the schools were built cheaper and taxes were lower people could use that money for college and other good things.Just the thought of what i will spend on taxation for schools in my lifetime makes me sick. All that money and kids today are very book smart, but have no real world smarts.Everything has to do with the All Mighty Dollar and not living life and enjoying the simple things. It is sad.This is what schools teach now, greed and that the more you want the more you take. The average school that cost $20 million to build could be built for less than half of that and teachers might be paid enough to care a bit more. Finance, i do think you live in a blurry world, not seeing the real issues we as a country are facing. We are not changing for the better, we are changing to a non caring, greedy country in which our kids will get handed down to them with a silver spoon , and it is getting pretty tarnished if you open your eyes and look.It is time to teach respect, honesty and put God back in schools for nothing else but a guidline for kids.Put the 10 comandments back on a plaque for them to see and have some rules to follow. And this is from me, and i am not a churchy person at all. Back to the issues of money and schools, taxes are higher and there is no end to the waste going on now.It is time for schools to live within their means. Owh, an i am a democrat :-)

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Actually, I appreciate all the arguments (pron/con) heard here by everyone who has spoken, and I can understand and even value that everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is the nature of democracy to allow for vigorous, spirited unvarnished--even passionate--debate and for the parties to eventually understand that in some cases they will never agree. That has happened here on this topic: my children and I have benefited greatly from education and consequently I hold schooling on a very high plane for its past, present, and future contributions to society. Not everyone will see it my way, and that's fine. So more energy on the topic will generate no more pay-off. I wish all of you well. Thanks for engaging the topic.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 5 months ago

On the topic of rather increased spending leads to increased academic achievement, the Legislature asked its Division of Post Audit that question.

The Division of Post Audit said yes it does.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 5 months ago

notajayhawk (Anonymous) says…

At least I can read, finance. Maybe the state didn't spend enough on your education?

A monkey can be trained to recognize words and read.

What is really important is reading for comprehension.

Your posts make it clear you are closer to the monkey than you are to the posts by finance.

finance is running circles around you, yet you keep coming back. Even the monkey in the lab can learn that when you try to get the food from the green button, the machine shocks you.

Thinking_Out_Loud 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm reminded of Mark Twain's comment that "Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty."

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Notajayhawk: Actually, I can both read and do math reasonably well despite having learned both in Kansas schools. My response below is in two parts due to character length, so read both posts before making any conclusions:

PART 1 One of the problems with intellectual argument is that verbal sparring can become too amusing, despite offering no possibility of affecting predisposed and immutable attitudes. This idle addiction is a particularly downward spiral in that it generates no additional income for the contestants. I had promised myself to bow out of this debate—fun though it is—for the latter reason—i.e., unless paid to argue, what’s the point? However, the allegation that I failed to defend my Kansas taxation numbers is too tempting to let slide without a final quip. As a closing argument, I am investing a few more moments’ explanation in order to not let it be said that I walked away from the tax question because I’m empty-handed. More, it’s that I’m excusing myself from additional argument in order to go about more lucrative pursuits. ☺

My point is that people should not be goaded into angry howling that their school taxes have gone up simply because they can resurrect old tax statements and point to a higher raw dollar taxation amount today. Rather, I spoke to the issue of proportional tax burden based on changes in school mill rates over time—the truer picture of long-term school tax obligation because inflation, in almost all instances, will result in a higher raw dollar tax amount, while actually masking what’s happening behind it via fluctuations in mill levy. The following secures my point, using a $100,000 market value home in a couple of diametrically positioned Kansas locations:

House market value (MV)= $100,000. Assessed value (AV)= $11,500 (fractional assessment per Ks. Constitution). School tax 1990 in Burlington (Wolf Creek nuclear plant): $11,500 * .006= $69. General Fund school tax 1990 in one Johnson County district: $11,500 *.119= $1,369.

Fast-forward General Fund school tax 2009 in Burlington: $11,500 AV * .020= $230. General Fund school tax 2009 in one Johnson County district: $11,500 * .020= $230.

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Part 2

This example shows two things. First, it shows that local property taxes for general fund school purposes long ago (pre-1992 school aid formula) were heavily wealth-dependent (we’d have to look at root causes to determine tax base disparity [it should be obvious, i.e., a nuclear power plant], but the example shows the actual variation in taxpayer effort at face value). Second, it shows that the passage of time 1990-2009 has resulted via state school aid formula intervention in [a] absolute equalization of tax effort, [b] absolute equalization of tax yield, and [c] dramatic reduction of school-based property taxes in lower wealth school districts and significant increase in school-based property taxes in higher wealth districts. The bottom line is: (a) property taxes in all school districts are now equalized, (b) property taxes in all except the wealthiest districts are now lower than they were at any time prior to 1992, and (c) pupil spending in every district is higher than was true prior to 1992 because the wealth of the entire state is distributed through the equalization aid formula (this latter point is not evident in the data here, but still true).

The only flaw here rests in oversimplification because I’m treating the same home as having neither increased nor decreased in value from 1990-2009. It is also not representative of a total tax bill because general fund is only one of several school district tax levies. It also underrepresents the true tax disparity of the past because it assumes uniform tax appraisals—sooo not true of the past. But even if I took the time to adjust for inflation over the years of record, the principle would stand true: tax effort by individual homeowners for school purposes has declined dramatically—that is not the same thing as saying the tax dollars required has declined too, because inflation in property values masks the underlying truth.

Sorry I don’t have the time to explain further—like I said, I’m not earning money by educating the public. But I am enjoying it, so some psychic return here... My only point in this brief painting is to indicate that whining about taxes is a deep hole with a self-supplied shovel—be careful what you whine about, as somebody always has a bigger gun with more ammunition. ☺

finance 8 years, 5 months ago

Toe: and why would that be? Because your general fund school taxes are lower than at any time in recent history and you still don't like it? At what level would you like taxes to be? Zero? Or do you want a refund after $0 paid by you?

The recent history of tax rates (see below) shows you're paying about 38% less taxes in 2009 than in 1992, and 43% less than in 1996. AND you're getting a tax exemption on the first $20k of your home's value that previously wasn't in the equation. Again, what would it take to make you happy? I guess we all know: no taxes AND a refund. Well, happy hunting--even in Oz you won't find Nirvana as you define it. P.S. I'd like to buy your home for its appraised value--willing to sell? I doubt it because you want retail for your home and sub-zero for your citizenship bill.

History of Uniform General Fund Mill Rate Tax Year Rate (Mills) 1992 (32) 1993 (33) 1994 (35) 1995 (35) 1996 (35) 1997 (27) 1998 (20) 1999 (20) 2000 (20) 2001 (20) 2002 (20) 2003 (20) 2004 (20) 2005 (20) 2006 (20) 2007 (20) 2008 (20) 2009 (20) Plus $20,000 residential property appraised valuation exemption.

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