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Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2010

Statehouse Live: Democrats sign pledge of no more cuts to schools; Brownback declines to sign

October 21, 2010, 2:52 p.m. Updated October 21, 2010, 3:55 p.m.

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— Leading Kansas Democrats on Thursday signed a pledge to oppose any further budget cuts to public schools and criticized Republican gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback's position on education funding.

Asked to sign the pledge by the Democrats, Brownback’s campaign declined and responded that growing the economy was needed to ensure schools are funded.

The Democrats also left areas on the pledge for House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, and Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, to sign.

Asked about it, O’Neal said, “Are they going to sign a pledge not to raise taxes?” Morris said that he hopes schools can be spared any further cuts but that he didn’t want to sign a pledge in case an emergency arose.

“I’m very supportive of K-through-12 and higher education,” he said.

Brownback has proposed a freeze in state spending, which his Democratic opponent Tom Holland said would result “in significant cuts to public schools” because it wouldn't replace federal funds to schools that will expire next year.

The Democrats also said Brownback's push for revamping the school finance formula means that local school districts will have to make up more of school funding through increases in property taxes.

Brownback has declined to specify what he thinks is wrong with the finance formula. He has also said he wants more dollars to reach the classroom.

When asked if he would sign the pledge presented by the Democrats, Brownback's spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag issued a statement, saying, “The greatest threat to education funding is the economic recession. Last year, Kansas lost more than 50,000 private sector jobs. The Road Map for Kansas provides detailed policy solutions necessary for growing our state’s economy and growing the economy is the best way to fund our schools.”

“Road Map for Kansas” is what Brownback calls his campaign proposals.

Holland, Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, and House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence each signed the pledge during a news conference.

The three said that since the state has taken over more of the responsibility of funding the public school system, test scores on reading and math have increased significantly.

“We are already moving in the right direction, we can't turn back now,” said Holland.

Holland said he would increase funding to schools as the economy improves.

Because of recent budget cuts, the base state aid per pupil has dropped from $4,492 to $4,012.

Comments

heygary 3 years, 5 months ago

In the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) used an analogy to describe "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

From my vantage point, Mr. Tyler’s observation has been unsettlingly predictive of the path of our own experiment in Democracy.

In my youth I studied, with gratitude and reverence, the “bondage to liberty” sequence associated with the birth of our country. I believe I have lived through the “abundance to apathy” sequence. Now, as I watch the current Administration attempt to spend its way out of a recession, push forward massive bail out and entitlement programs, and socio-engineer Government intrusion/involvement in to most aspects of our lives, I cannot help but feel that the road to “dependence” has been charted.

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Paul R Getto 3 years, 5 months ago

State involvement is critical in funding formula for schools, counties, cities and towns. School districts in Kansas range in valuation from billions of dollars to just a few million. If there is no equalization, many smaller communities will suffer great loses and won't be able to tax the locals to make it up. The 'code-talking' in some of the proposed legislation to 'fund a basic education' is a threat to schools. It's popular to promote local control, but Kansas is like most states with stretches of rural populations and concentrations of wealth that are distributed back to the rest of the state, when the formulas are funded and the constitution is respected. A child's address should not completely determine the quality of their education. If Brownback and Abrams' models become policy, in ten years or so only the five counties with 1/2 the population and most of the wealth will have comprehensive schools. The rest will have reading, math, science and social studies and not much else. Should be an interesting ride, no doubt about that. Incidentally, I agree with much of Senator Abrams' pedagogy; he just doesn't want to fund the schools or universities at an adequate level. People forget we need to save rural America and shutting it down won't help the five counties who have the most people, sales and income and property tax. If nothing else, most folks like to see something in the fridge when they open the door in the evening. Food doesn't come from the grocery store; it comes from farmers and ranchers who are trying to preserve their land, their way of life and our ability to eat cheaply.

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TinkyWinky 3 years, 5 months ago

Eh oh Kansans,

Excellent article in the NY Times about our state politics and next Governor.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/22/us/politics/22brownback.html?_r=2&src=twt&twt=nytimes

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citizenlame 3 years, 5 months ago

Brownback is running on a platform of: Dems want to raise your taxes. Vote for Me.

Do you know how he is going to fund education? He is going to put the burden back with the local school districts, which means, they will have to raise property taxes to fund education. YOUR PROPERTY TAXES WILL GO UP!!! HE IS GOING TO RAISE TAXES!!! HE REFUSES TO ANSWER THE QUESTION BECAUSE THIS IS HIS ANSWER!!!

Then, he is going to freeze general state spending, which means that the state will not be allowed to pump revenue anywhere, including into education. So, if you live in a district like Blue Valley, don't worry, when they raise your property taxes by $1 Million and 30% goes to your schools, they will get a nice $300,000 increase for your property values. BUT if you live in a district like KC, K, when they raise your property taxes by $1 Million, about $8000 will go to your school, for your property values. But i'm sure this won't create further inequities in Kansas schools. No, I'm sure Brownback is the right man to vote for.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Republicans are simply too dangerous to be in charge of OUR money and OUR economy!

Have voters forgotten who and what put them out of work twice in the last 30 years?

No jobs,no medical insurance,retirement plans up in smoke by the party that believes flippin burgers is a great alternative never mind that parents can no longer be home parenting.

The Global Economy and Reagnomics are absolute failures for the USA!!!

Republicans are simply too dangerous to be in charge of OUR money and OUR economy!

This is what I mean:

  1. The Reagan/ Bush Savings and Loan Heist( millions out of work)
    "There are several ways in which the Bush family plays into the Savings and Loan scandal, which involves not only many members of the Bush family but also many other politicians that are still in office and were part of the Bush Jr. administration.

Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this was about one quarter of our national debt").

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.
http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  1. The Bush/Cheney Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers(million out of work)
    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."
    http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  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.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  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."
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0505orr.html

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - (DO NOT create Jobs)

The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = tax increases for the middleclass.
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

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Centerville 3 years, 5 months ago

Gimmick City over at the KDP. And Rothschild is their stenographer.

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vanguard3 3 years, 5 months ago

Clevercowgirl, protecting our kids from politicians can only start at home. Trusting anything to the next politician to fix is just putting off personal responsibility until the next election. Not that I think you do otherwise, just that citizens have to take matters of children in their own hands, because we cannot trust any politician to do what is right.

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rockchalk1977 3 years, 5 months ago

Good for Brownback!!!! I agree 100% with him not signing the pledge. It's only an election year gimmick by the lazy teachers union and worthless demorats.

Most of the federal stimulus dollars went to the states instead of "shovel ready projects". The states plugged their budget deficit holes and the rest trickled down to the local schools. The result, the stimulus didn't work because it simply maintained the status quo. Biggest waste of taxpayer money in history.

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TinkyWinky 3 years, 5 months ago

Eh oh Kansans,

Sorry, point being, I don't disagree with Brownback not signing the pledge. I am concerned about what his plan is. The funding formula is broken, Johnson county can't fund the entire state, we need to be more efficient. Consolidation accomplishes that end. State Senator Chris Steineger (D) has been proposing something similiar to this for years but politicians don't want to give up their small kingdoms.

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TinkyWinky 3 years, 5 months ago

Eh oh Kansans,

Careful consideration needs to be made about redistricting our schools and counties. We have 105 counties, some with populations just over 2000 and others with over a quarter million. Initially the majority of counties were apportioned based upon the length of a days travel on horseback. Today we no longer require such an archaic means and should look to consolidating our counties to a more managable number. Just gestimating 25 to 40 counties. Include in these counties the realignment of school districts. Go from a couple hundred districts down to one district per county. Tremendous savings in administrative and logistical costs. We will continue to waste money on outdated systems. Let us during this economic crisis muster the courage to realign and save.

Example: Leavenworth County has six school districts. The one on Fort Leavenworth is unique so it may have to remain as a district. (Fort Riley, McConnell AFB) Leavenworth, Lansing, Easton, Tonganoxie and Basehor-Linwood. That equals five superintendents, assistants, staffs, etc. Five transportation coordinators, five food service coordinators, five maintenance coordinators, and so on. Average administrator salary, about $110,000 dollars equals over half a million for administrators. Throw in the other management and support and we have well over a million. Go throughout the state with over 200 districts, not all as big as this area but we're talking in the neighborhood of 50 million dollars in savings through consolidation. Not to mention county maintenance, courts, lisencing offices, and so on.

Initially, capital expenditure would be high as a result of closing costs, contract buyouts and severences, with savings coming in three to four years offsetting the outlay.

Not picking on Leavenworth, just as easy to look at Douglas or Jefferson counties or our neighbors to the south.

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BigDog 3 years, 5 months ago

This isn't going to shift a governor's race that has a 25-30 point gap

Expect Brownback to receive 55-60% of the vote.

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Clevercowgirl 3 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, the age-old discussion about politicians. Too bad our kids will pick up the tab on this one, with their quality of education. The point is to me, we need to protect our kids from the politicians.

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BigDog 3 years, 5 months ago

Come on ..... I am sure that this campaign promise is the one that will be kept, just vote for me ..... honestly these politicians are different from other campaign promises others give (sarcasm intended)

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 5 months ago

The road map to Kansas is nothing but a property tax increase.

Increase property taxes in small town Kansas and you will kill what little economic activity they have left.

Good plan, Sam! Way to kill off rural America.

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Clevercowgirl 3 years, 5 months ago

We're probably safe this year on school funding (as in no drastic cuts). Let's hope that the economy shows signs of significant recovery next year. Of course, if Brownback gets in office, our kids are in trouble.

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Stuart Evans 3 years, 5 months ago

I have heard pledge after pledge from Democrats and Republicans alike. They all have one thing in common. Pledges go out the window shortly after the election, and a whole new round of promises pops up just before the election.

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