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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.

Comments

Tracy Rogers 4 years 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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coloradoan 4 years ago

gccs14r

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.

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texburgh 4 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.

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tomatogrower 4 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.

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none2 4 years, 1 month ago

commuter (anonymous) says…

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.

I bet even more money would be raised if Kansas had a tax of 50 cents per 9-oz cup of coffee sold.

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gccs14r 4 years, 1 month ago

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

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commuter 4 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.

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KSManimal 4 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?

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commuter 4 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.

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youngitized 4 years, 1 month ago

Irresponsible. Simply irresponsible.

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chipmunk 4 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.

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nschmi04 4 years, 1 month ago

Kevin Yoder has been a first class idiot since he first arrived on campus at KU.

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edjayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

Man, I feel like I'm in Backwater, Mississippi.

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average 4 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?

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tange 4 years, 1 month ago

Legislation which would cut public school funding by another 172 million is neither educated nor an "education plan."

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kansasmutt 4 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.

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cammieb 4 years, 1 month ago

The following resources support these statements:

Raising taxes does not necessarily stifle economic growth.

And

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

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/03/09/1102022/in-economic-terms-raising-taxes.html

http://budgetandpolicy.org/reports/increasing-and-modernizing-the-sales-tax

http://www.rand.org/pubs/documented_briefings/2008/RAND_DB562.pdf

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!

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edjayhawk 4 years, 1 month ago

The state GOP keeps harping that we need to bring in more jobs. Why would a company want to come here when the workforce is untrained? They don't see the long term effect here. And then they promise huge tax breaks if they locate here and we lose revenue from that. No common sense here.

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Healthcare_Moocher 4 years, 1 month ago

You guys just don't get it. It is not the right wing whacko's causing the problems. It is the greenies and the gimmies that are causing it. We have turned into an entitlement state where no one wants to work, decisions are made by lobbiests, and to hell with the corporations and working people.

Schools think they need 15 acres and ranch style facilities, then they complain about not being able to afford them. Thank you ADA for making the buildings accessable. We had a miget and a kid in a wheelchair in Junior High. We just picked them up and carried them up the stairs... no one cared. They heated the first floor and the same heat helped heat the 3rd floor.

Has anyone stopped to think about funding? In govermental situations, funding is determined on need. In a nut shell, if you did not spend your allocation last year, then the powers to be, figure you did not need that money, so they reduce your budget for the next year. This out of hand spending is enjoyed across the whole gambet of government.

No one is for killing neighborhood schools, they are the best way to educate, but when the greenies and the gimmies take over half the money from the state and federal budget, there is nothing left for things like schools.

Our roads are full of potholes, and they build a crosswalk for bicycles on 15th street for some 625K. Thanks Merrell.

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kujayhawk7476 4 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.

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Dan Eyler 4 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.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 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.)

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Brave21Hawk 4 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.

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kugrad 4 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?

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none2 4 years, 1 month ago

conservative (anonymous) says…

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.

I would think the more important question is how are other similar school districts faring. If Lawrence has more schools per capita than other successful towns, then by all means they should be closed.

I would add that an involved, interested parent makes a child learn more than millions of brick/stone/wood/steel/glass buildings ever could.

One last thought to think about: If throwing huge amounts of money at schools were the real answer, then the Kansas City school district wouldn't be closing HALF of their schools to stay viable.

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none2 4 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!

Look at the bright side: If your children don't make much money because they are not well educated, at least they can get married for free. You can also throw the book at them if you catch them texting on the road. Perhaps next year you'll even be able to renew your marriage vows with a covenant option. Plus next year perhaps you can also get them to cut back on sugar drinks.

The legislature spent their time on such issues because they know how dear to the heart residents care about marriage and texting. Education only confuses young people. If we need an educated individual we can always hire someone from overseas for less money and do our shopping cheaper at Walmart.

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conservative 4 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.

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lawrenceguy40 4 years, 1 month ago

We pay far too much in taxes already. High taxes stifle economic growth. The state must learn to live within its budget. Cuts like this are needed. I applaud the responsible Republican lawmakers who have the guts to take us forward.

barry o wants us all to be a nation of welfare recipients. If you have any self respect you should fight against his policies until he is out of office....

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none2 4 years, 1 month ago

Perhaps the goal of the legislature is to move to a more decentralized method of schooling. It reminded me of when I was a child and some of our school teachers would tell us about Australians in the outback that went to school via short wave radio.

FYI, that system existed via shortwave radio for 52 years (1951-2003). Remote schooling still exists, but now it is done via the internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_o...

It is kind of the public method of home schooling.

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Matt Needham 4 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.

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BobandAlice 4 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!

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windex 4 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.)

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Healthcare_Moocher 4 years, 1 month ago

There is no money mostly because of all the entitlement programs the state has to fund. Make people go to work and there will be lots of money.

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solsken66 4 years, 1 month ago

Very dishearting....the all or nothing approach. The legislators are too focused on their party lines. They are not thinking about the people they are supposed to represent. Sad, sad, sad.... I have known people who moved to Kansas because the state has a good public education system, low crime, and affordable living. However, with the focused butchering of the school budget and higher property taxes, many will probably consider leaving or not moving to Kansas.

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GardenMomma 4 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!

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Cindy Yulich 4 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.

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toe 4 years, 1 month ago

Taxes will balloon soon to levels that will cause civil unrest.

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George_Braziller 4 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.

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commuter 4 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.

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gccs14r 4 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.

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Bob_Keeshan 4 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.

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Mike Edson 4 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.

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guess_again 4 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.

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oneeye_wilbur 4 years, 1 month ago

oh great, raise the local property taxes again along with an 18million dollar library bond issue and retirees are going to move here in droves.

Lawrence USD needs to bring in Mr. Covington and get his take on the local system.

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