Archive for Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Education officials see more cuts coming

November 10, 2009


— State education officials Tuesday were sounding the alarm.

Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said public schools will see a $150 per student decrease in spending immediately because education costs have gone up and state leaders have said they will not make up the difference.

And, Dennis said, he expects Gov. Mark Parkinson to institute another cut on schools before the month is over to help balance the budget.

Lawrence School Supt. Rick Doll said the cuts in the Lawrence district have been bad and will get worse.

“We’ve cut so deep in the meat, it’s tragic,” he said.

Dennis said some districts will use emergency funds to bridge the revenue shortfall, but some districts don’t have much in reserve.

“Some will struggle big-time,” he told members of the State Board of Education. He said the state financial picture is the worst he has ever seen.

Doll said the district has already cut classified and administrative staff, and will now use funds that would have been used for instructional material and professional development to make up the $150 per pupil cut.

Cuts beyond that, Doll said, will be awful.

“You kind of feel like a boxer. You get knocked down and you get up again and you get knocked down again,” he said.

Since the state revenue crisis started last year, state leaders have whacked at the public school budget several times.

When the 2008-09 school year started, base state aid was $4,433 per pupil. It is now at $4,218 per pupil.

Increased enrollment, decreased property values, and a 13 percent increase in students receiving free lunches, has produced another budget hole that Parkinson said he won’t fill at this time. That brings per-pupil funding to $4,068, and Dennis said another reduction is likely.

Education Board member Walt Chappell, D-Wichita, said an increase in the number of students receiving free lunches reflects the poor economy but doesn’t necessarily mean it will cost more to educate those students.

But Education Board member David Dennis, R-Wichita, who teaches in the Wichita public schools, said the increase in free lunches does signal increased needs. He said many of those students are in families who “stay 30 days ahead of the landlord.” He added, “We see it every day in Wichita; it’s something that impacts those kids.”


GardenMomma 8 years, 6 months ago

So, what's left to cut? And who will ultimately pay the price for all these budget cuts?

The kids of today are the geriatric caretakers of tomorrow. (And lest you forget, the adults of today are the geriatrics of tomorrow.)

Be wise, spend more wisely, and think about what you are really investing in: your own future.

Amy Heeter 8 years, 6 months ago

Parents will be paying. There simply is no way to address these cuts without passing the cost onto the parents.

texburgh 8 years, 6 months ago

As long as the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, and the Kansas Policy Institute - all of which are wholly owned subsidiaries of Koch Industries - are allowed to purchase politicians and run the legislature, they will continue to dismantle all public services. Our schools will have lost everything gained over the last five years and a whole generation of children will be sacrificed to protect corporate tax cuts. Waiting lists for services to Kansans with disabilities will continue to grow and more of our most vulnerable citizens will be left without care. More miles of roadways will have repairs delayed or just abandoned causing more accidents and costing each of us more in car repairs. The list just goes on and on.

In the meantime, nearly $7 billion in tax cuts - nearly none of which help individuals but are targeted for corporations - have been passed since 1995.

The Kochs and their gang have bought the Republican party and are now working to eliminate the last of those traditional, moderate Republicans in 2010. God help us all if they are successful. Our quality of life - yours and mine - will decline. What makes Kansas great for families will be sacrificed. But the Kochs will be quite comfortable, thank you.

Fixed_Asset 8 years, 6 months ago

No, artichokeheart, ultimately the children will pay for this, not the parents.

avoice 8 years, 6 months ago

If the parents care about their children's educations and the educations of their neighbors' children, they will start to take on more of the burden of public education. Remember that those rich Koch executives get to send their children to school for free, just the same as everyone else. Time to set up a sliding scale of school fees and make sure the folks at the top of the food chain are paying their own children's costs directly in addition to contributing their tax money to help educate the children of those who can't afford to pay for it.

deskboy04 8 years, 6 months ago

Maybe it is time to consolidate schools.

matahari 8 years, 6 months ago

Maybe they're hoping everyone will begin home schooling and take on the whole load.

Another answer could be to stop educating illegal immigrants, and to stop having children!

BadLlama 8 years, 6 months ago

Consolidating districts may seem like a sensible solution, but it's not. With larger school districts you get higher transportation costs, less teacher motivation, less student effort, and less parental involvement. Consolidation means larger class sizes which in turn results in less student-specific teaching. What happens to all those teachers employed by districts that have been consolidated? Not all of them can simply move to the new larger district--this will only cause more people to lose their jobs. There are so many rural communities in Kansas, many times one school district per county. The northeast and south-central parts of Kansas are the most heavily populated, but everywhere else is so spread apart, you would have kids driving fifty miles just to get to school. It may seem like consolidation is the best option, but it is not. The only way the schools are going to get the money they need is to raise taxes. Politicians get elected by promising tax cuts, and now it has caught up with us. Teachers are having to do more with much, much less these days. NCLB and AYP will not change for districts just because there is less funding.

LiberalDude 8 years, 6 months ago

texburgh's post gets my nomination for post of the year! It was spot on. We can only hope that the people of Kansas will soon wake up to the fact that corporations control the state government and quit voting for Republicans.

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