Archive for Friday, March 19, 2010

State education department: House GOP education plan would cost Lawrence schools another $1.68 million

March 19, 2010, 3:00 p.m. Updated March 19, 2010, 4:47 p.m.


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House GOP school finance proposal ( .PDF )

— The House Republican leadership’s plan to cut public school funding by $172 million will short the Lawrence school district another $1.68 million, according to State Department of Education figures.

But Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, who is chairman of the House committee that recommended the plan, defended it because he said it holds the line on state taxes.

And he said there are provisions in the bill that are good for districts, such as Lawrence.

Those include, he said, measures that would allow local districts to raise property taxes if they wanted to get more funds. One provision would authorize districts to adopt a local activities budget and levy a tax that could be up to 5 percent of state general aid to the district.

These tax funds could be used to help pay for extras, such as sports. They could not be used for classroom costs.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence, however, disagreed with Yoder.

He said the provisions that Yoder and other House Republican leaders are touting would “create greater inequities of the school finance formula that will land us back in court.” The GOP plan would cut funding on aid that helps poorer school districts and reduce funding in a wide array of “weightings” for students who are considered at risk of failing.

In 2005, the Kansas Supreme Court declared the school finance system under-funded, unequal and unconstitutional.

The court dismissed the case in 2006 after the Legislature revised the finance formula and approved a $466 million, three-year increase in funding.

But over the past year, the state has cut into those increases. The House GOP plan, which will probably be debated by the full House next week, would reduce school funding by $172 million by not replacing federal stimulus funds that were used this year.

The fight over budget cuts has prompted Schools for Fair Funding, a coalition of more than 70 school districts, to promise to sue the state again. The lawsuit is expected to be filed this summer.

Lawrence school board members, who already have approved $4.6 million in cuts for next school year, have said legislators must increase taxes to keep the board from having to cut deeper.

But Yoder said state taxes are not the answer.

“Kansans are pinching pennies. That’s what state government has to do,” he said.


guess_again 8 years, 1 month ago

Add to the $1.68 amount about $ .7-1.0 million more for the gap which the local school board left standing by spending balances and doing other one-year actions instead of making programmatic reductions which can be sustained in succeeding years....

That gets you to about $ 2.5 million of additional reductions which the school board may need to be looking at.

Mike Edson 8 years, 1 month ago

Kevin Yoder you and the Kansas Republican Party are idiots. I can't wait until we can vote in new Legislators. Your kids must go to a private school.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 1 month ago

Make no mistake - the House GOP plan is a property tax increase.

Probably the largest property tax increase in the history of the State of Kansas.

Their proposal doesn't "allow" districts to raise taxes.

Their proposal requires districts to raise taxes.

gccs14r 8 years, 1 month ago

The state Supreme Court already spanked these idiots once. Here we go again.

The long-term fix is to quit electing flat-earthers to the Legislature.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

I am confused. How does this make the district raise taxes?? They have the opportunity to raise them if they want to continue to fund small schools. The SONS group will have to explain to everyone now that raises taxes are a good idea to keep small schools.

George_Braziller 8 years, 1 month ago

Raise property taxes to pay for sports but not for classroom costs? That is the most mornic thing I have ever heard. How about switch that around and put the money into what public education is supposed to be -- education.

Cindy Yulich 8 years, 1 month ago

“Kansans are pinching pennies. That’s what state government has to do,”

The legislature needs to start with ending the subsidizing of inefficiency in the K-12 system throughout the state. Presently, inefficiency is encouraged and subsidized in extremely small districts. This is not fair to Kansas children as the overall K-12 budget is strained.

GardenMomma 8 years, 1 month ago

Looks like they are getting what they want: uneducated masses. Easier to manipulate.

Soon the only choices will be private schooling (that will allow schools to pick and choose who can attend and pick and choose the curriculum) or homeschooling.

This is insane!

windex 8 years, 1 month ago

We can look forward to: Retirees vs. Parents Rural vs. Urban (schools and districts) Arts vs. Athletics (why, I'm not sure; the Arts are academic core and Athletics are not, worthy though they may be)
This school vs. That school Nurses vs. Counselors Librarians vs. School Cops Veteran, experienced teachers (cost more) vs. New, inexperienced teachers (get what you pay for?) All you tax-haters, pop your popcorn and get ready for the Gladiator/Lion show (too bad the ones who will be injured are children.)

Cammie Braden 8 years, 1 month ago

Kansas legislators are saying that they are not hearing from the constituents to support raising state revenues by raising taxes!

This is NOT true! I know people all across the state who are demanding support for Governor Parkinson's budget proposal to raise state revenues. They are telling their legislators to raise taxes!

What do we have to do? Kansas is being hijacked!

We must go public and write letter after letter to all the newspapers in Kansas. Make it simple:

Support Governor Parkinson's budget proposal to raise state revenues!

Matt Needham 8 years, 1 month ago

China and India are thrilled to watch the American education system go down the drain. Well, I guess our kids can join the Army. I hear Haliburton needs cannon fodder... err... specialists.

conservative 8 years, 1 month ago

Before the district even thinks about trying to raise taxes they need to close the small ineffiecient schools in town. It was gutless not to close them this year. If you really think your small expensive neighborhood school is so important then start a tax benefit district to raise taxes only on the homes in your schools boundary.

kugrad 8 years, 1 month ago

Now here it comes again. A TAX INCREASE ON PROPERTY OWNERS caused by actions in TOPEKA that will be blamed by uninformed local voters on the schools, on the city, etc. instead of on Topeka. Now don't get me wrong, I think the legislature should raise taxes to fund schools, but, as education funding is a STATE OBLIGATION, the taxes should come from the legislature, and they should take FULL credit for it, instead of passing along local tax increases rather than doing their constitutional duty. Why do people keep voting for these losers?

Robert Holmes 8 years, 1 month ago

These are the very same people who just a couple of days ago told individual counties that they cannot even have a vote whether to raise .25% in sales tax for K-12 education! They won't even give our local governments a choice folks!!!

The sad state of Kansas has to live with those they elect in office. If we continue to elect conservative politicians, Kansas communities are going to suffer enormous side effects. The legislature refuses to fund programs as required by the state constitution and place it back on local government officials who will then not be re-elected because they were forced to raise taxes by the lack of the state's leaders. Pass the buck right on down!

We have a conservative representative in my school district and we are certainly paying for it by her votes in the house which are definitely bias toward business and anti-school, anti-heath care for the elderly, etc.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 1 month ago

The solution is simple, and painless-- create a new bracket for high-income earners. They'll still be wealthy even after paying the taxes (and still most able to take advantage of all the hard work that everybody else does, but get sh*t wages for doing it.)

Dan Eyler 8 years, 1 month ago

Amazing that we are talking about raising taxes. Property taxes are already inflated by the government so that we keeping paying taxes. Example, I just refinanced my house. After a complete house inspection my new value is $185,000.00. But I just got my drive by tax appraisal in the mail and the county is telling me that value is $197,2000.00. This is fraud on the largest scale. Lawrence government, Kansas government, schools and any other government agency is broke. They have cheated the taxpayer for years and we cant take any more. You keep cheering for higher taxes and and those who have to pay it are going to push back in a big way. We simply cant afford to keep these governments in business. Something is going to give. Put your hope in the Supreme Court and they will be the next to go if they illegally force higher taxes on the hard working taxpayers. But one thing is for sure. Not one more dime for public education. They have their 2/3's of the tax pie. Cut your cost, cut your classes, Cut your buildings costs, cut your nurses, cut your social workers, cut your para's cut the administrators, cut your cost for sports. But the cost of education in Kansas is a sham and a money pit and it needs to stop. Tough decisions are needed and none of those decisions are going to hurt the children. Maybe your pride but get over it. Schools and their employees are state employees and government needs to shrink a whole lot.

kujayhawk7476 8 years, 1 month ago

Not many people like tax increases, including me. However, if we need to increase taxes to properly fund education, that is understandable and I will support that increase. The republican, right-wing wackos who control the Kansas legislature need to be hauled back into court tomorow and then sent home by the voters in November. And to think I'm a republican; one who has no pide in this party in Kansas any more.

Carol Braden 8 years, 1 month ago

The following resources support these statements:

Raising taxes does not necessarily stifle economic growth.


The quality of the school district directly impacts the quality of the surrounding community in many ways.

Journal World Bloggers' OPINIONS are not always supported with research of fact. Please be informed!

Governor Parkinson's budget proposal to raise state revenue is researched and will work to close Kansas budget deficit.

Tell your legislators to support Gov. Parkinson's budget proposal!

kansasmutt 8 years, 1 month ago

Keep on a cutin. Maybe in time this will sink in as a way to keep the districts in check and show them how to be accountable for the waste. Keep the cuts comin. I think ( healcare-moocher) sumed it up perty good.

average 8 years, 1 month ago

"One provision would authorize districts to adopt a local activities budget and levy a tax that could be up to 5 percent of state general aid to the district. These tax funds could be used to help pay for extras, such as sports. They could not be used for classroom costs."

The cynical gambit here should be obvious. Start redefining some "classroom costs" to "activities". Music programs in younger grades? Foreign language classes?

chipmunk 8 years, 1 month ago

I can't believe this sniveling twerp Yoder is going to represent Kansas in the U.S. Congress. He'd give his first born for the seat, so no problem sacrificing our kids future with a second rate education to prove his tax/government hating bone fides. I can smell his soul rotting from here.

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

CammieB- I suggest the following first before we start raising taxes:

  1. A $100 fee (non-deductible) for all minivans and SUVs

  2. Cut the amount of charitable deductions allowed by 50%. There is nothing wrong with having a difference from the Federal government.

  3. Get rid of the credit for amount paid for daycare

  4. Impose a $0.50 additional tax for all sports and entertainment tickets. No exemptions.

Then let's start incraesing the sales tax as long as no state of county or city employee receives a pay increase - this would include school districts.

The OP area increased their sales taxes to pay teachers more, now that it has sunsetted, the amount they need to cut is a lot more than Lawrence. Also, they do not have small schools.

KSManimal 8 years, 1 month ago

Commuter - you made four suggestions of thing to do "before" raising taxes ????

All four items you list are increases in taxes! $100 "fee" = $100 tax. 50% cut in allowable deductions = pay more tax. Remove child care credit = pay more tax. $0.50 tax = tax (duh!).

What you've done, I'll bet, is pick out a few things that would tax people who aren't you. Am I right? Don't think you need to support public education? Try listing three things you do that don't require an educated populace. Betcha can't.

That being said, I could support some of your ideas. But, the child care credit....I'd say keep it, but only for lower income folks. Same for allowable deductions. And the tax on sports tickets? Great idea, except I'd make it about $5. And, if we're going to add special taxes on SUV's, why not muscle cars too?

Stephen Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

KSManimal- 1/2 of my suggestions directly pertain to me. I give money to charity and evry once in a long time by sports & entertainment tickets.

I will bite on the additional day care credit for low income people as long as it is not refundable. It makes no sense to give low income people more money back than they paid in.

SUV & Minvans- Why did I pick these types of vehicles. Why not- People who dive these vehicles do so for a reason, transport their kids etc.

gccs14r 8 years, 1 month ago

Keep cutting education, infrastructure, and services and we can end up just like Haiti, or Somalia.

tomatogrower 8 years, 1 month ago

gccs14r (anonymous) says… Keep cutting education, infrastructure, and services and we can end up just like Haiti, or Somalia.

That's the plan. Tear down those poor people who think they might get ahead some day. They need cheap labor to wipe their behinds. That way they don't have to bring in illegal aliens.

texburgh 8 years, 1 month ago

Yoder is the most anti government legislator with the possible exception of O'Neal and Merrick. Yoder cuts schools, social services for the disabled, public safety, highway maintenance, you name it. He does this because he is the lapdog of Koch Industries, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for Prosperity. Pass the tax burden on to the local residential property tax payer. Then boast in your campaign literature that you "held the line on taxes." That's true - Kevin held the line on taxes on corporations and Koch Industries. And working Kansans will take it in the shorts or abandon their schools and their disabled neighbors. Yoder wants to be your congressman.

coloradoan 8 years, 1 month ago


You are exactly right - Somalia it is. Our roads are so bad that I can go off-roading every day in my SUV (so no extra $100.00 fee for that please - it really is a necessity). And, no I don't haul my kids in it because I don't have kids, although I still support school funding for your kids.

One of the bottom line questions has to be what are we getting for our money paid into taxes? When I lived in Colorado, we got whole networks of bike and pedestrian trails, city and county parks, snowplowing was a given and it was relatively frequent, and the taxes were far less than in Kansas. My SUV was taxed at 654.00/yr in Kansas, but only 200.00 in Colorado when I moved there the following year. We are paying how much more to get so much less? That is the outrageous part.

LJW - do some investigating - where does this money go and who is benefitting?? Why do we not have roads that are the level of quality we used to get? Who got the tax cuts? I'd really like to know.

Tracy Rogers 8 years, 1 month ago

Here's a simple solution.

Raise the tobacco tax up to the national average.

Raise the sales tax up 1/2 percent for 3 years.

Eliminate the sales tax exemptions that have been handed out over the past 15 years in reverse order until we have enough to balance the budget.

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