Archive for Monday, October 4, 2010

School advocates see cause for worry

Brownback plan lacks details for future funding

October 4, 2010


— When Republican Sam Brownback, the front-runner in the governor’s race, says he wants to reform the school finance formula but won’t say how, that raises concerns among those who have fought for more education funding.

That anxiety is heightened because Brownback, a U.S. senator, has been away from state government for 16 years and missed the political and legal fights over school finance that have produced the school funding plan that now exists. And Brownback is most closely aligned with members of the Legislature who consistently take schools to task for wanting more money.

Brownback faces Democrat Tom Holland, a state senator from Baldwin City, in the Nov. 2 election.

Funding the public school system, which takes more than half the state budget, will be a challenge for the next administration, especially in light of a continued strain on state coffers and the expected school finance lawsuit that alleges the Legislature has failed its constitutional duty to provide an adequate education for all students.

Holland says the biggest problem for schools right now is that they have had to cope with significant budget cuts in recent years. State education officials say it would take $415 million to fund the school finance law that was in place before the budget cuts were made. Holland, along with his lieutenant governor running mate, state Sen. Kelly Kultala of Kansas City, promise to restore funding as the state’s financial picture brightens.

“The state must meet its constitutional obligation to fund our schools,” Holland said. “That is why as the economy improves, the Holland-Kultala administration will invest dollars back into the classroom and we will oppose further cuts to public schools,” he said.

Brownback has outlined several goals for education.

“With regard to K-12 funding, we need to focus the state’s dollars on classroom instruction, promote innovation, reform the school finance formula, and pursue unified accounting of our school districts’ use of state funds,” he said.

He said if elected, one of his main goals will be to raise the reading levels of fourth-graders.

“If children don’t learn to read early, they are more likely to face a lifetime of difficulty in the classroom and the job market,” he said.

But exactly what is his plan for funding?

When state Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, a Republican House leader from Olathe, unveiled a proposal that would essentially blow up the current school finance plan and rely much more on local property taxes, Democrats pounced.

This was the Brownback plan, they said. And they produced analyses that showed the plan would hurt many school districts across the state.

“We’ve been down this road before, and it is truly the road to ruin,” said a letter from Democratic legislative leaders to school officials statewide.

After several days of blasts from Democrats, Brownback’s campaign issued a statement saying that he would veto the measure if given the opportunity.

Brownback has said that, if elected, it is not his job to dictate a plan, but instead to provide the leadership to get the Legislature to form a plan. He says he wants to bring stakeholders together to hammer out a school finance formula that, according to his spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag, is “fair, understandable to the public, and that promotes excellence.”

But some have found these statements too general. Kansas Families for Education, which has fought for increased school funding, endorsed Holland, saying that some of Brownback’s positions sounded good, but added, “Ultimately, however, the board found too many details missing to allow them to make an informed judgment on your position on education issues.”


HMcMellon 3 years, 6 months ago

Say what? Even FoxNews agrees that Obama lowered the taxes for 95% of Americans, but lies like the above continue.


Of course, the reason for the lies is to create a smokescreen for the rich folks in Connecticut who support Brownback because they are pissed that Obama does not want to continue the tax cuts for the upper 2% of taxpayers.

Brownback, Roberts and all the RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) from Kansas are opposed to extending Obama's tax cuts for 95% of us in favor of extending tax cuts for their buddies, who make in excess of $100 million per year. The ignorant voters in Kansas will probably vote against their own best interests because of the lies like the above promoted by Brownback and the multi-national corps who employ him.

Brownback's corporate buddies have pumped millions into his campaign and into the campaigns of all the other anti-small-business RINOs, who are running for office in our State on behalf of foreign corporations. Whoever spends more on TV ads wins elections in Kansas, and those who are in bed with the anonymous mostly foreign-owned corporate donors fool the ignorant people of Kansas time after time.


toe 3 years, 6 months ago

The more government become the educator, the less education there will be.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Grover Norwich and Sam Brownback have something in common:

Beware: TABOR Is Coming After devastating government services in Colorado, the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" threatens to spread.

Colorado repealed TABOR.

The State Chamber of Commerce and Brownback's so called Club for Growth back TABOR and this can hit public education hard.



Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Maybe Brownback does not pay attention? Brownback and federal budget matters look a lot like this:

Face it history documents that republicans destroy financial institutions which creates:

  1. job losses

  2. loss of medical insurance

  3. loss of retirement plans

  4. loss of homes

How do we know this?

The Reagan/Bush savings and loan heist was considered the largest theft in history at the time. George Herbert Walker Bush then took $1.4 trillion of taxpayers money to cover the theft.

  1. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers Yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities ignoring their regulatory responsibilities."

  2. Only 3 major Financial Institutions were at risk in spite of what we’re told ? "There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America and Citigroup, Those three were clearly in very weakened form. Many of the other big banks simply were not.

  3. Privatizing Social Security Would Place the Nations Economy at Risk "Social Security privatization will raise the size of the government's deficit to nearly $700 billion per year for the next 20 years, almost tripling the size of the national debt.

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk--it would likely put the entire economy at risk."


deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 6 months ago

Brownback doesn't care enough about public schools to send his kids there.

He is largely funded by the Koch brothers who believe it is their duty to shift the tax burden to someone else.

He has not had anything but the best (State & Federal) health insurance for 20 plus years.

And he has no concrete plans, just election year rhetoric.

This is the person you sheeple want as governor? Your neediness is more pathetic than your lack of intelligence.


JustNoticed 3 years, 6 months ago

Suck it up, people. It's time to Eat the Rich.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

Brownback has outlined several goals for education.

“With regard to K-12 funding, we need to focus the state’s dollars on classroom instruction, promote innovation, reform the school finance formula, and pursue unified accounting of our school districts’ use of state funds,” he said."

Brownback just said absolutely nothing. The man offers political rhetoric.


Centerville 3 years, 6 months ago

Interesting. Holland is just holding out the old tin cup. And the 'advocates' consist of one website funded by a union. Brownback is talking about students learning something.


avoice 3 years, 6 months ago

The more this campaign goes on with the leading candidates' camps both acting like they're back in junior high (or never matured past that point), the more inclined I am to vote Libertarian. There is not a candidate in this race who is currently proving that he is going to adequately represent the majority of Kansans, and that does include the Libertarian candidate. But the message I really want to send to our political process is that it's time for real change. And real change is not going to come from inside the Republican or Democratic parties. We need at least one new, viable political party in this state and in this country. So my vote is going to the third party that has the best chance of becoming viable: the Libertarians. Back in the day, my father would have said this would be a "waste" of my vote. But I believe that I'd rather "waste" my vote on standing up for what I believe than waste my vote giving it to someone who doesn't deserve it.


deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 6 months ago

"QuinnSutore (anonymous) says… I'd rather have privately funded schools than see this liberal tolerance nonsense shoved down the throat of every susceptible young mind."

It's ironic that the Brownbacks sent their kids to an elitist, diverse, liberal, and expensive private school in Topeka. Everything that you hate, the Brownback's spent their money for.


BigDog 3 years, 6 months ago

I would like to see a detailed plan for both candidates on ...... energy, school funding, taxes, economic development/job creation

So far both candidates have gotten away with sound bites ....


deathpenaltyliberal 3 years, 6 months ago

Sam Brownback's 3 steps to school success.

  1. Teach creationism, so those expensive science classes are not required.
  2. Marry a rich woman, so you can afford to...
  3. Send your kids to private school.

blindrabbit 3 years, 6 months ago

Smilin Sam your C Street trained Governor to be (hopefully not). Basically did nothing of merit during his time in Washington. If Sam cannot tie any given issue to his warped C-Street indoctrination of of fundamental religion he is out of his comfort zone. In that situation, his next position is based strictly on cost-benefit analysis; regardless science and potential progressive outcomes.


volunteer 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, K-NEA will just have a bigger reason to rally their members into campaigning for their pro-education legislators.

I heard Brownback endorse raising the tenure theshold from 3 to five years and figured that would set off alarm bells in the k-12 folks. Ahh..that is what he meant by his vague "let''s improve education."

Thanks for the post, texburgh, about Brownback's spokeswoman. The New Yorker did a big story on the Koch brothers about six weeks ago. Apparently those two brothers (not sure if they still give Wichita as their address or if just their oil pipeline company remains based in Wichita) are the third wealthiest guys in the country(worth 30-40 billion each or something close to that) and are the founders/financiers of Americans for Prosperity.


kansasmutt 3 years, 6 months ago

I did hear 1 good thing Mr. Brownback had to say about Kansas schools. He said

" The school districts have become more about building new huge money pit buildings and have put the money going to the teaching end of the classrooms to the rear of the list "

Every town big or small has built HUGE new schools that cost millions to run each year and have cut what teachers get and spend more on sports then helping the ones who struggle.

If ever you get down around Spring Hill Kansas, take a look at the grade scool they have when you come into town from the north. It is a standard metal building , with no frills. They teach, they are not keeping up with the Jones`s .

Do you need a $45 million school to be able to teach kids how to read, write and do math ?

Do you need a $12 million football field ?

Do you want your kids to get educated or learn how to waste money ?

In todays world a school building appears to be outdated in 10 years on the average, so why not build something less costly with a plan to remodel it instead of leaving it empty and costing millions to maintain. Every city big or small has 2 to 6 empty schools costing millions and going to waste.

If a business wasted this kind of money, they too would be going broke and failing, why not use the brain you have and think and teach smart ?


QuinnSutore 3 years, 6 months ago

I'd rather have privately funded schools than see this liberal tolerance nonsense shoved down the throat of every susceptible young mind.


Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

"says he wants to reform the school finance formula but won’t say how"

And Nixon had a plan to end the war - just wouldn't say how until power had been put into his hands.

But who ever said Kansans learn easily?


sunflowergirl 3 years, 6 months ago

Republicans and Democrats alike should be concerned about Brownback's plan (however vague) for education in Kansas. He's said that he wants to reform the school finance formula which would shift the burden of funding schools to local school boards and the only way school boards have to raise money is through property taxes. The last thing I want to be doing right now is paying higher property taxes on my house after its value has decreased so significantly.


bobberboy 3 years, 6 months ago

brownback is a home schooler !!


ibroke 3 years, 6 months ago

1 grandma-- you sound like you are such a happy and positive person


ferrislives 3 years, 6 months ago

I wish that New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie was our governor, so that he could truly reform our state's educational system. It's out of control, and the spending never stops. The teacher's union originated for a good purpose, but I believe that it's the biggest part of the problem when it comes to improving everything. Why should a bad teacher keep their tenure?

I watched a news special on Finland's educational system (, which is #1 in the world. They have three teachers in each classroom: Two do instruction, while one helps those one-on-one that need it. They also have longer days, and a longer year all-together. Yet it costs LESS per pupil there than it does in the U.S.

Continuing to throw money at the problem will do nothing to solve it. We've seen proof of that over the years. I'm so glad that this issue has come to the forefront, because it needs to be dealt with now!

***Remember, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".


lawrenceguy40 3 years, 6 months ago

The really fun part about reading all of the whiny liberal comments here, is that in just over four weeks Senator Brownback will be elected Governor. And there is nothing the liberal elite, the disrespectful whiny posters or dutch boy holland can do about it!



texburgh 3 years, 6 months ago

Want to know where Brownback is on school funding and education? His "spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag" is the wife of Derrick Sontag, executive director of the anti-public education organization Americans for Prosperity. Both Sontags worked for the extreme right wing Republican legislative leaders taking generous taxpayer funded salaries and getting very generous taxpayer funded parting gifts when they left government to fight against government. If I recall the LJW report at the time, the two Sontags took home $15,000 between the two of them when they left government employment. So of course NOW they are for more accountability. Back then, not so much.


phoggyjay 3 years, 6 months ago

Brownsack is a very scary man


KSManimal 3 years, 6 months ago

Brownback's plan is to gut public funding of public schools, and sell them down the river to private interests. He won't say that, because he knows it would cost him votes. But, he has sung praises of Jeb Bush's work at destroying Florida's public education system. Check this out:


Neomarxist123 3 years, 6 months ago

The Democrats' plan is "spend like there is no tomorrow".

Anyone with a budget is a threat to that.


CorkyHundley 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm with you on concrete evidence. I' anxiously waiting for concrete evidence from the Democrats what my federal taxes will be. But they went on vacation. I need to know how much money I need to set aside for the Obamacare, and School tax mandates.


Paul R Getto 3 years, 6 months ago

The Senator has an interesting perspective on this topic. He's not been involved in Kansas politics for some time, and seems strangely ignorant of Article Six of the Kansas Constitution and the history of legal disputes over school finance. All parties eagerly await some concrete ideas on school finance. Will we see anything before election time, or are we just supposed to trust him because he's so experienced in Federal budget matters?


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