Archive for Thursday, January 15, 2009

GOP: Public school funds can be cut without harm

January 15, 2009


— Republican legislative leaders Wednesday said public school funding could be cut without harming classroom instruction.

“To the extent that the schools are saying we can’t suffer any cuts in the current fiscal year, I don’t think is correct factually,” said House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson. “I think they (cuts) can be made, and I think they can be made without impacting instructional dollars.”

Republicans, who dominate the Legislature, expressed dissatisfaction with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ budget proposal, which holds public school funding at current levels while making cuts in other areas to meet a growing fiscal crisis.

O’Neal said a better approach would be to enact an across-the-board cut.

“The quickest way you fill a hole is do it across the board to get to the number that you need and then work from that point forward,” O’Neal said.

Public schools are a big target in budget negotiations because they comprise 52 percent of the state budget at $3.8 billion.

Because of falling tax revenue projections, lawmakers are looking at an immediate budget deficit of approximately $186 million, which could increase to nearly $1 billion in the next fiscal year that starts July 1.

But House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said an across-the-board budget cut would be “a tremendous mistake.”

He said such a move would result in Kansans with disabilities who are currently receiving state assistance getting kicked off those services.

And Davis defended Sebelius’ position to try to hold public schools harmless.

“We have made a tremendous investment in our schools and have seen that investment pay off as test scores are going up,” he said.

But O’Neal said the budget situation has gotten too dire and will need significant cuts.

“Our priority for how we deal with these cuts is fundamentally different than the governor’s priorities,” he said.


boxturtle 9 years ago

Teachers and students once again trying to take our money and use it to better themselves - for nothing in return. Don't they know that there are bankers who are just barely getting by without xmas bonuses. Good thing Kansas is leading the nation in a new era of compassionate conservatism.

avoice 9 years ago

Americans seem to have gone completely berserk regarding their children. We buy them everything that comes down the pike, year after year because there is a new version of every gadget available every 6 months. And we extend this madness to thinking that we should allocate 90% of the state's entire services budget to education. Yes, about 90% is where we are headed if we make every other agency in the state take cuts (or complete shut-down) while we hold k-12 education "harmless." Cutting the budget is not the same as denying children a good education. When you cut your family budget, do you deny yourself or your family basic warmth? Daily nutrition? Medical care? No! You give up cable TV, magazine subscriptions, most of the new clothes you've been wasting money on. You find out pretty quickly that there is a LOT of excess junk in your life and trimming is not only possible, it's a great thing! That is what every school, every school district in the U.S. needs to be looking at right now. How can anyone look themselves in the mirror, much less look their jobless neighbor in the eye, knowing that they are part of the one area of the economy that has been held "harmless"? As far as I'm concerned, school superintendants whining for more money right now is on par with the 3 auto-manufacturing CEOs begging for a bail-out. It shouldn't be happening. Take only what you really need and leave something for a few other necessary services. Leave your greed at the door, please.

Jeff Barclay 9 years ago

A way to save money immediately, without cutting programs- Offer tax credit incentives or educational vouchers to all families for non-public, educational choices. Private schools are far more efficient with their dollars. The overall average per student cost in a private school- online, virtual, or traditional classroom setting is much less than in a publc school. Introduce an economically-level, competitve, educational playing field in Kansas and education for everyone will improve.

jayhawklawrence 9 years ago

I can easily imagine a Republican Conservative of the Kansas variety using a Machete to cut costs where a small slice would be appropriate in order to manufacture the facade that they are tough on economic issues. Not at all the kind of decision making the voters are looking for. In fact, we are sick of it.

deskboy04 9 years ago

Where would the local district cut it's budget?

TacoBob 9 years ago

So there are NO inefficiencies, no areas that can be combined, managed in a different way, cost cutting/avoidance options, resource sharing, alternative learning delivery systems - pick any or all options above and many not mentioned here.If indeed not one nickel cannot be found because Kansas has a 99.9% efficiency rate in managing educational resources, then we have solved all of the economic issues of the......WORLD! All businesses, governments and households need to get to Kansas post haste and learn at the feet of the master. It's almost a perpetual motion machine, nirvana, fountain of youth, the Holy Grail of economics. In this age of major belt tightening required of everyone, we have found the answer. In the school system, no less. In Kansas, no less.I'd go celebrate with a Popsicle, but I have to get to Kansas toot sweet and learn the secrets of wise budgeting. Then I can splurge. But only one treat.....then it is back to learning the secrets of wealth!You guys are the best! Pinch me!

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