Archive for Tuesday, June 30, 2009

School officials dread state budget decisions as new fiscal year starts

The Lawrence school board will welcome three new members at Wednesday night's meeting.

June 30, 2009


Sagging revenue

Tax collections have lagged behind expectations since September, when the nation’s economy started tanking. Before then, collections had been slightly above anticipated numbers.

The biggest drop for the year was $93 million in individual income tax collections, which Morris attributed in part to a loss in capital gains by Kansans because of the economy. Sales taxes were down by $15.6 million and corporate income tax dropped $14.7 million.

The Associated Press

— Public school officials are dreading the start of the state’s fiscal year like some students worry about the first day of school.

Kansas finished the 2009 fiscal year Tuesday approximately $126 million short, and Gov. Mark Parkinson has scheduled a news conference Thursday to discuss reducing the deficit.

In a brief talk with reporters on Monday, Parkinson declined to say whether schools would suffer another round of cuts.

But kindergarten through 12th-grade spending represents about half of the state’s budget, so school officials, already hit with budget cuts earlier in the year, are sounding the alarm.

School districts have reported eliminating 3,700 teaching and nonteaching positions to save $100 million and planned another $67.7 million in other cost-saving measures for the upcoming school year. In Lawrence, earlier this month, the school board cut $355,000 from the district’s 2009-2010 budget to bring the total reductions to more than $2.5 million.

In the last legislative session, lawmakers forced local boards to make reductions by cutting state aid to public schools by $80.4 million, or 2.4 percent.

Deeper education cuts will hurt Kansas in the long term by producing more drop-outs, fewer skilled workers and less economic growth, said Mark Tallman, a spokesman with the Kansas Association of School Boards.

The time has come to start thinking about raising more revenue, including taxes, some school officials say.

“Raising revenue may be a difficult choice, but like most sound, long-term investments, the economic consequences are clear,” Tallman said.

But state leaders say they are in no mood to increase taxes on Kansans during the current economic slump.

In a recent online chat conducted by KTKA in Topeka, Parkinson said, “Raising taxes is not a good thing to do in a recession because it drains money from the system at a time when the system needs money flowing to keep the economy going.”


kugrad 8 years, 10 months ago

So raising taxes is a bad idea but having 3700 school employees or more lose their jobs is a better idea? Little known fact: The state actually has a $200 million dollar SURPLUS that it holds on the side and pretends is not there. They write laws that paint themselves into a financial corner, then pretend they can't change the laws to get out. If there is ever a time that it is inappropriate to cut all kinds of services people need and that benefit the state while hoarding money, this is the time. Our legislature is full of morons.

texburgh 8 years, 10 months ago

Because the Kansas Legislature bows to the state chamber of commerce in every demand they have for more and more corporate tax cuts, our schools, our disabled citizens, and public safety must all suffer. Legislators who believe they can cut every corporate tax and continue to fund vital services are, indeed, "morons." And businesses that believe they will benefit from lower corporate taxes even if that means a weaker school system (the system that develops a work force) are equally moronic.

getreal 8 years, 10 months ago

Governor Parkinson said...“Raising taxes is not a good thing to do in a recession because it drains money from the system at a time when the system needs money flowing to keep the economy going.”

How exactly does raising taxes drain money from the system? How much tax revenue does the Governor think that we lost from the 3700 jobs eliminated? These individuals are no longer paying state income tax, nor are they purchasing anything and paying sales tax.

Kansas has been on this slash and burn tax mentality for years to spur economic growth. How is that working out for you all? Not so good I suspect, since we are broke!

Your own Post Audit Study revealed that it is not the panacea you all claim it to be. In fact the sampling they did showed that barely a third of those companies helped with our tax dollars are even still operating in Kansas.

I'm willing to bet that those 3700 unemployed in our schools would have remained in Kansas for years to come.

What is your plan now for drawing business to Kansas with an education system on the decline? Who is going to fill those jobs if we don't have a well educated workforce?

Finally, you all might look at the constitution and find that the job before you only requires you to fund public schools for continous improvement, nowhere do I see it requires you to provide tax breaks for every corporate begger with their hand out.

Kids, there is no one in the statehouse looking out for you. Governor Sebelius has gone to D.C. and you've been left to fend for yourselves. Go on now and just pull yourselves up by your bootstraps.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 10 months ago

We all want others to pay for what we need and want. "A good tax is one someone else pays that benefits me." To get out of this, sales and income taxes will need to be raised and exemptions must be revisited. In an effort to keep certain constituents happy, the legislature has removed 90% of the taxable property and 75% of potentially taxed sales from the rolls. We need to rethink this.

deskboy04 8 years, 10 months ago

Maybe it is time to think about school consolidation. There are way too many school districts. Each of those districts has a central office that costs money.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 10 months ago

deskboy04 "Maybe it is time to think about school consolidation. There are way too many school districts. Each of those districts has a central office that costs money." ====== DB. An idea to consider, but consolidation in the 1960's was not promoted to save money and it never really has. The majority of the money (80%) or so, goes to building level staff. Closing buildings and getting rid of teachers and other staff would save lots of money. Nothing else will make much of a dent.

Bob Burton 8 years, 10 months ago

Why do we treat principles & superintendents like CEO,s?? They do not need cars & cellphones given to them for personal use, along with there wifes.. I see to many school vans & cars out shopping @ the malls.. As my friend said why do we need so many assistants, including in charge of urinals..

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