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Archive for Thursday, July 28, 2011

Statehouse Live: Education rally scheduled for Saturday at Statehouse

July 28, 2011, 10:29 a.m. Updated July 28, 2011, 6:09 p.m.

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— Supporters of Kansas public schools will rally Saturday at the Capitol to protest state budget cuts to education.

“These devastating cuts to education funding are a disaster in the making for a state that has staked its future on development of a high-tech economy,” said Kathy Cook, executive director of Kansas Families for Education.

The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the south side of the Capitol.

Kansas Families for Education, Kansas National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers are sponsoring the rally, which is being held in conjunction with similar rallies at state capitals nationwide.

Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, and the GOP-controlled Legislature cut state aid to schools by $232 per pupil in the current fiscal year, which started July 1.

Brownback has said the cuts were necessary to help balance the overall state budget.

In the past several years, as the state has struggled with revenue shortfalls, per-pupil spending has dropped from $4,400 in the 2008-09 school year to the current level of $3,780.

Speakers at the rally will include elected officials, teachers, school board members, parents and students.

“There are higher demands on teachers and students and fewer resources to meet those demands,” said KNEA President Blake West. “Seldom do the voices of those dedicated and experienced teachers and parents who work in our public schools get heard. We know what’s suitable is for our students and their education. We will make our voices heard.”

Comments

SouthWestKs 3 years, 4 months ago

Good move.. Hold a rally when everybody is gone home!! You gota to love them though..

question4u 3 years, 4 months ago

Why would they hold a rally when the Kansas Legislature is in session? They want to get the attention of people who care about education.

SouthWestKs 3 years, 4 months ago

The people who care about education don't have the vote.. Looks like a very dumb move to me.. But the lame stream media will love it..

Dave Trabert 3 years, 4 months ago

A little clarification is in order. First, base state aid was not cut by $232 per pupil this year, it was reduced by $157. Base state aid was reduced by $75 last year, so the two-year total is $232.

Still, total aid to public schools increased both years. Total K-12 spending (including a small portion for running KSDE) was $2.710 billion in FY 2010. For the year just ended, total spending jumped by $261 million to $2.971 billion. This year, total spending is going up another $86 million to $3.057 billion...all according to Kansas Legislative Research. The base was reduced this year because increases in special education, pensions and aid to districts with bond payments more than used up the total increase in spending.

But the legislature also gave districts the option of using prior year surplus carryover funds (state and local tax dollars that weren't spent) to fully offset the two-year change of $232 per pupil. All but a handful of districts have the ability to do so and still have large per-pupil balances left over. Full details on the new law, the applicable funds and the amounts available by district are online (only) at http://www.kansasopengov.org/CarryoverTransfers/tabid/2113/Default.aspx

notanota 3 years, 4 months ago

I see that it's time for Dave-the-corporate-shill to come in with some ever so helpful misleading figures as part of his social media outreach efforts. Don't worry folks, he's only paid indirectly from the Kochs, and all this information (and the context he won't give you) come from the government he's here to dismantle.

Base state aid was only cut in a two year change of $232, and schools were given the "option" of gutting their rainy day funds or underfunding the system, so it's all ok folks, nothing to protest here. Carry on.

Dave Trabert 3 years, 4 months ago

There's nothing misleading whatsoever about the official numbers I posted. They are simply facts that schools and others choose to ignore.

But speaking of misleading, districts would not have to gut their rainy day funds...most would simply be using a small portion of their prior year surplus. Total carryover surplus going into the year was $775 million...if they used the full $154 million authorized...they would still have $621 million remaining. One does not need to be proficient in math to understand that most districts would still have considerable surplus remaining.

notanota 3 years, 4 months ago

Mighty defensive there, Koch-boy. Nice jab about math skills, but I'm not sure if you want to start throwing stones at that glass house. Last I remember, you were busy deliberately misunderstanding the difference between tax revenue and tax burden. Or being incompetent. You were very persistent about it, whichever it was.

Dave Trabert 3 years, 4 months ago

not defensive...just correcting your false statement...like the last comment in your above post. Happy to have a public discussion of any of the facts so it's quite clear if anyone is being misleading.

notanota 3 years, 4 months ago

The last comment in the above post? That you're either deliberately obtuse or just a lousy researcher? Ah, Dave. You've yet to clear that one up, but we still do have the record of what you said.

Yes, it's quite clear who has the job of being misleading here, Dave.

The facts are that students are losing funding. The facts are that we've lost federal matching grants, though I'm unclear as to whether or not we've lost more grants this year due to maintenance of effort. Funds that once lost, are lost forever. The state liability to provide those services does not go away, however, so we're stuck with more lawsuits and expensive SpED funding or less funding per typically developing pupil. That would be a helpful thing to clarify, but I doubt you will. It doesn't fit your narrative.

The facts are that they're having to spend reserves to maintain lost per pupil funding. Those reserves are finite and that the legislature has indicated that they'd like to further lower taxes, meaning that the depletion of those reserves is nearly a foregone conclusion without a revenue increase, which is unlikely to ever happen while Brownie holds court. One refers to this sort of thing as a "gutting." "Remove or extract the most important parts of (something) in a damaging or destructive manner"

notanota 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh, we could go round and round on this one, notright. Students are losing funding. Less per pupil aid means less per pupil aid, whether that money goes to paying for extra teachers or raises for retaining experienced teachers. Even Dave knows it. He's just trying to nitpick and spin.

I agree that I'd like to see the education system work better, but starving the funds is not the way to accomplish it.

The argument usually goes thusly:

Private enterprise is magical and the power of competition will make schools perform better.

Nice sounding theory with many flaws.

In systems with lottery-style charters (so we eliminate self-selection bias) students don't do any better in private charter schools than they do in public schools when you look at socioeconomic status. In a broad public vs private comparison, the results were the same. (with the exception of small-order run parochial schools, and that may just be because it's a self-selected group)

We might want to move to more of a Finnish system, though. You know, well compensated, highly qualified teachers who are also heavily unionized. We'd have to up both the pay and the degree qualifications for our teachers to do it.

That's an overly simplistic answer, since Finland also has much flatter socioeconomic status, and the majority of our school performance issues are tied to our inability to educate poor people. However, starving the education system only makes that problem worse.

It's really a pity we can't have an honest discussion of our education system, because there are plenty of us parents who believe it's a system worth saving.

situveux1 3 years, 4 months ago

Has Kathy Cook paid he property taxes yet? I'm sure the kids would love it if she paid her fair share.

notanota 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure she paid on time like everyone else. How's the farm subsidy?

situveux1 3 years, 4 months ago

Not if you check the tax rolls in JoCo. Last time I looked she was behind by 2 years. And I'm not a farmer. So strike 2 for you.

chootspa 3 years, 4 months ago

Looks fascinating. Got any current links? I'm getting nothing. There are a few deleted links on some meadowlark something or other website dated as being updated in 2007, and a libertarian blog from 2009, and neither source points to an official document.

WilburNether 3 years, 4 months ago

Is this event being staged by Schools for Selfishness and Greed? I know that the group that filed the lawsuit against the state calls themselves "Schools for Fair Funding," or some such nonsense, but schools for Selfishness and Greed is much more accurate. These people don't care about higher education, public safety, public health, highways, or anything else that state government funds. They want it ALL.

kansanjayhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

65 Cents of every dollar Kansas spends from the general fund goes to education! The problem is how the money is being spent and the fact that far too much of that money goes into administration. We need to reform education in Kansas and not be satisfied with the status quo throwing more money into a broken system is not the answer. Kansans are willing to spend a great deal on education as evidenced by how much we already spend--but we want to get our moneys worth-- reform this system!

chootspa 3 years, 4 months ago

I agree. It's how to reform the system on which we'll disagree.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

And, after my experience with ACE based Christian schools, it sure as heck isn't vouchers.

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