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Archive for Tuesday, March 16, 2010

About 1,000 show up for school budget rally in Topeka

Nadia Sanburn, 7, a student at Woodlawn SCHOOL in Lawrence, rides the shoulders of her dad, Jake Lowen, and holds up a sign during a rally for school funding Tuesday at the Statehouse in Topeka.

Nadia Sanburn, 7, a student at Woodlawn SCHOOL in Lawrence, rides the shoulders of her dad, Jake Lowen, and holds up a sign during a rally for school funding Tuesday at the Statehouse in Topeka.

March 16, 2010, 12:41 p.m. Updated March 17, 2010, 12:00 a.m.

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Approx. 1,000 show up for school budget rally in Topeka

Hundreds of parents, teachers and students rallied at the Statehouse in Topeka to protest potential future cuts in education funding. Enlarge video

— At least 1,000 parents, students and educators from across the state on Tuesday asked legislators to make no more cuts to public education funding.

During a rally on the east grounds of the Capitol, Gov. Mark Parkinson, who has proposed a 1 percent sales tax increase and a 55-cent-per-pack tobacco tax increase to close an expected $467 million shortfall for next fiscal year, urged marchers to contact legislators.

“Do we want to be a state that tears down our schools, that refuses to provide education for our school children?” said Parkinson, a Democrat. “Or do we want to be a state that lifts up our schools, lifts up our teachers and provides an education for every kid?

“Let me tell you, we want what’s right, not what’s left.”

The crowd included two busloads of people from the Lawrence group Save Our Neighborhood Schools. The Lawrence school board has already decided to cut 21 teaching jobs and made other program and administrative cuts to save $4.6 million for next school year.

“I think there are substantial numbers of people who do want new taxes so we can maintain the quality of education that we’ve had in the past,” said David Reber, a Free State High School biology teacher.

Several Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said the Legislature needed to make education funding more of a priority. Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, was originally scheduled to speak at the rally, but his Tuesday schedule prevented it, organizers said.

“Our schools have taken their share of the cuts, but now it’s time to increase the revenues,” said Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka.

Wakarusa Valley School sixth-graders Amanda Coatney and Bethany Ledom marched to the Capitol from the Kansas National Education Association building. They said they were happy that Lawrence school board members didn’t vote to close their school for next year, but they worried about future cuts.

“I hope that we get more people to understand why we’re here and just know that we’re here to save schools and all the little kids going there,” Bethany said.

During the rally, participants frequently chanted “save our schools” and “we want what’s right, not what’s left.” Many wore school colors from districts as far away as Colby, and several Save Our Neighborhood Schools signs were visible in the crowd.

Democratic legislators said it would be toughest for tax increase plans to pass the House.

“They think there’s waste and inefficiency in our schools, and that we’ve got to cut more,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence. “They need to hear loud and clear from all of you and thousands of Kansans. That is not the right answer for our children. That is not the right answer for the future of our state.”

GOP House leaders Tuesday afternoon released a statement that said they were crafting a budget that “slows government spending, strikes a balance between the private and public sector, and maintains essential government services, all without a tax increase.”

“We should resist the Democrats’ proposed solution to every fiscal problem — taxes, taxes and more taxes,” said House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson. “We should not expect Kansas taxpayers to make up for government overspending at the state and federal level.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, said Tuesday that the state should reform the school finance formula to give local school boards more flexibility to “raise revenue to protect (against) school closings and teacher firings.”

“The answer is not new statewide tax increases that will slow the economy further and lead to further inequities in the school finance formula,” Yoder said. “We must freeze spending at the state level but allow local communities to have the tools necessary to meet their demands and desires.”

Comments

cammieb 4 years, 9 months ago

There were people there from as far away as Garden City!

Legislators will have to listen if we all speak up and speak loud!

Tell them to raise state revenues by supporting Governor Parkinson's budget proposal. No more cuts to education.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

Many in our legislature think that they can honestly ruin our education in Kansas, and expect businesses to want to locate here. Too many are in the back pockets of Koch Industries and the Chamber of Commerce, who want to destroy schools. Why?

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

How is having music and art programs for elementary students waste? How is having fewer students per rooms a waste? How is having a library that is open all day long a waste? How is having technology so students can prepare for their future a waste? Are there some schools top heavy in administration? Probably, but look at all the mandates the government puts on schools, most of them unfunded, by the way. They end up needing more administrators to fill out all the paperwork the government requires

commuter 4 years, 9 months ago

Fund more for education so we can keep all of the small schools open and complain next year we don't have enough money, then complain the next year we don't have enough money, repeat, repeat etc.

cammieb 4 years, 9 months ago

Governor Parkinson's budget proposal will eliminate the deficit without cutting proven vital state funded programs and services. Eliminating the deficit while helping to keep Kansans employed will improve our economy so that next year won't be worse. No repeat! Raise state revenues!

commuter 4 years, 9 months ago

Sure a one cent sales tax increase doesn't sound bad but haven't state revenues declining?? Why??? People are spending less and thus less sales taxes are being collected.

commuter 4 years, 9 months ago

How about a $0.50 additional tax on all sports and entertainment tickets instead of a general sales tax increase. People who attend KU basketball and football games can afford it.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

What are public schools? A best bang for the tax buck!

What are public schools? A best bang for the tax buck!

What is public Education? The best payback on a tax buck!

What is public Education? The best payback on a tax buck!

I will support the sales tax increases and commuters suggested tax schemes!

OR the state could halt all NEW road building projects and put that new road pork barrel money into a project that pays back the taxpayers aka PUBLIC EDUCATION,HIGHER EDUCATION AND VO-TECH EDUCATION.

New roads add miles and miles and miles of new tax dollar obligations at a time when Lawrence and the state cannot keep up maintenance on OUR existing roads.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 9 months ago

GOP House leaders Tuesday afternoon released a statement that said they were crafting a budget that “slows government spending, strikes a balance between the private and public sector, and maintains essential government services, all without a tax increase.”

What a joke-- as if their primary benefactors the Koch Brothers would ever be satisfied with anything like "balance."

Shardwurm 4 years, 9 months ago

There is no money you morons. What do you want to give up? Road construction? Highway Patrols? Infrastructure improvement? Tax incentives for companies to come to Kansas so these 1,000 can get jobs?

How about doing more with less like everyone else is? Better yet...how about we just get the teachers to do their jobs? Want a quick way to keep schools open? Fire every single teacher and hire the kids coming out of college for half the price. They can't find work. If you tell me that they're not qualified to teach what are you saying? That THEIR teachers were poor?

There is so much fraud, waste, and abuse in the school system that there is room for at least a 40 percent cut in every budget. Don't believe me? Go get the notes of the School Board meetings and peruse the expenses. You may be surprised.

Sean Livingstone 4 years, 9 months ago

This is the first step to stop destroying our education. The next? Stop rewarding your kids for bad behavior and such low standards! Don't tell them that they are doing good if they don't.

whiskeysour 4 years, 9 months ago

To a certain extent I believe that the problem is not with lack of funding, but with greed on the part of the schools. I recently heard a veteran teacher discussing the issue with a soon to be graduating education major. Both agreed that the descreases in funding have brought the districts overall funding to 1999 levels. Of course, they were bemoaning this. . . in this economy, however, I think many people have seen their income reduced to those levels.

More importantly, if schools (like everyone) could distinguish between wants and needs there wouldn't be half the complaints.

tomatogrower 4 years, 9 months ago

GOP House leaders Tuesday afternoon released a statement that said they were crafting a budget that “slows government spending, strikes a balance between the private and public sector, and maintains essential government services, all without a tax increase.”

They are probably going to close all public schools, then Koch Industries will open up private schools where, if you have money, you can send your kids. They don't believe in education. They need stupid workers who will work for pennies, while they keep socking away their millions.

Or worse they will cut corporate taxes even more, because businesses will come pouring in, create jobs, then income and sales will increase. Just keep whipping that dead horse, Republicans. The rest of us are getting tired of the smell though.

commuter 4 years, 9 months ago

Since people want to raise taxes so much here, I have a few suggestions.

  1. Reduce charitable deductions allowed for Kansas income tax purposes to 50 % of what is allowed for federal purposes.

  2. Impose an additional fee of $100 for everyone registering a minivan or SUV, earmark the $ for education.

  3. Impose an additonal tax of $0.50 for all sports and entertainment tickets.

Require more regulation on education spending and require more detailed reporting.

whiskeysour 4 years, 9 months ago

Commuter, I like how you target your proposed tax increases. . . .in that vein, how about school funding is only provided by those with children.

It could be an educate mandate - similiar to the insurance mandate that is being forced down our throats - and upon enrollment families would be required to pay the per year funding for their child. That way individuals w/out children will not be perpetually gouged to pay more and more and more.

It could be a tiered system, where those that wanted only the base (Reading, writing, arithmitic) could pay one fee, and then ala carte opportunities (music, sports, debate, etc) could be offered for additional fees.

spiderd 4 years, 9 months ago

whiskeysour: If you think only parents of children benefit from public education you are simply a moron. I apologize for the anonymous internet name calling but some times you just got to call it like you see it.

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