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Archive for Monday, November 23, 2009

Statehouse Live: More cuts, more problems; Teacher workload discussed

November 23, 2009, 9:24 a.m. Updated November 23, 2009, 4:37 p.m.

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— Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday announced another round of budget cuts that will likely result in more state employee layoffs, unpaid furloughs, crowded classrooms and reduced social services.

“The cuts we are making now are to basic services,” Parkinson said of his $259 million in budget adjustments.

Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday provides details of budget cuts during Statehouse news conference.

Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday provides details of budget cuts during Statehouse news conference.

The governor, presiding over the worst revenue dropoff in state history, apologized to those who would be affected by the cuts, and urged Kansans who were doing well “to dig deep” and contribute to churches and charities.

Parkinson refused to say whether he would push for a tax increase in the 2010 legislative session, which starts in January.

Related document

Gov. Parkinson's Budget Cuts ( .PDF )

The cuts were made to balance the current fiscal year budget and represent the fifth round of cuts since the state fell into a recession.

Here are some of the cuts:

-- $36 million to public schools, and not recommending a $156 million increase to take care of increased school costs;

-- $2 million to higher education;

-- 10 percent on Medicaid reimbursements;

-- $50 million in highway maintenance funds;

-- $5 million transfer of state general funds to Bioscience Authority.

Parkinson’s plan also shifts $85.9 million in federal stimulus funds from the next fiscal year to current one, which will increase the budget hole next year.

2:53 p.m.

State Board of Education member Walt Chappell today outlined a proposal that he said would make schools run more efficiently and reduce costs.

Those include requiring that parents and sports boosters pay for the extra costs of sports activities, consolidating the 296 school districts into 40 regional districts, requiring teachers to spend at least 8 hours per day in the school building, and removing restrictions on how schools can spend monies from special accounts.

Chappell, D-Wichita, told the House Appropriations Committee that the proposals were his and not those of the State Board of Education. The committee took testimony in light of a worsening state budget crisis because of a drop in tax revenue.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, took issue with Chappell’s implication that teachers weren’t working 8 hours per day.

As a former member of the Lawrence school board, Ballard said she knew first-hand that teachers were working hard and that student achievement was increasing because of that.

“It is a little presumptuous of you to say they are not spending 8 hours or more,” she told Chappell.

But Chappell said he knows of schools were the children get out of school at 3:10 p.m. and by 3:20 p.m. “you can hear a pin drop in that school.”

Other committee members had problems with some of Chappell’s other proposals. Rural lawmakers said they were concerned how far students would have to travel under massive consolidation and building closures.

Comments

gccs14r 4 years, 4 months ago

As if Kansas didn't have enough trouble keeping intelligent, hard-working people in this state.

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remember_username 4 years, 4 months ago

Boeing - It is difficult to determine how many state employee layoffs will be necessary or to what level furloughs will be required at this point. Each funded unit simply cannot anticipate how many of their best and most marketable people are going to leave the state for better jobs elsewhere. Perhaps enough of the best and the brightest will go, leaving behind posts that cannot be filled, so that remaining employees will not have to get laid off or furloughed. Many I know are now "looking".

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sinkorswim 4 years, 4 months ago

..."requiring teachers to spend at least 8 hours per day in the school building..."

Seriously??? Let's see, unless there's a "new" math I'm not aware of, I'm pretty sure 7:15am-4:50pm is more than 8 hours. Perhaps he ought to visit some schools.

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Boeing 4 years, 4 months ago

So is anyone going to stop BSing these state workers and honestly tell them if they have money to buy presents for their kids or not? Or is it too much to ask that this far out (4 days) from shopping season? Someone knows but isn't saying, and that's unfair. Feeling sorry for my fiancé and other state workers...

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thepianoman 4 years, 4 months ago

Man, Ljworld is slow. The other media outlets have his cuts posted.

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thinkks 4 years, 4 months ago

I'd like to ask Mr. Chappel when he thinks teachers are grading papers, doing report cards, working on lesson plans and the volume of paperwork they need to do, especially if there is a special needs child in the class. They are doing it at their kitchen tables into the night after they have taken care of their own kids.

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JoRight 4 years, 4 months ago

Anyone know if this is being streamed online anywhere?

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KSShy1 4 years, 4 months ago

Due to Budget Cuts, University Support Staff looking for work. Certified Paralegal graduated with Honors. Worked at KU Law School Dean's Office. Serious applicant and hard worker. Employers, please respond. sunshyn@ku.edu

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Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 4 months ago

prairierose54, the Governor has neither statutory nor Constitutional authority to levy taxes. That privilege is restricted to the Legislature. The Governor's only options are to issue cuts and restructure indebtedness.

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thepianoman 4 years, 4 months ago

Fasten your seatbelts state workers!

As a state worker, I've been talking to my co-workers about the possiblity of organizing a furlough party -- in the event he the gov orders them.

I've suggested steak and lobster in Kansas City, followed by a night out at the casino boats!!! We can use our unemployment checks...if we even get UE.

Here's to the possiblity of furloughs!

LOL.

Gotta have a sense of humor sometimes!

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prairierose54 4 years, 4 months ago

All state employees.....assume the position. If he won't raise taxes, or cut welfare programs, or cut schools that only leaves state employees to make up the difference.

At lease he's gonna go it before anyone goes out on Friday to buy Christmas for their kids.

I bet the stores wished he would have waited!

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