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Archive for Saturday, July 30, 2011

Statehouse Live: Education supporters decry funding cuts to public schools

July 30, 2011, 3:03 p.m. Updated July 30, 2011, 3:25 p.m.

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Gloria Phenix (left) and Marilyn Ault, both of Topeka, display signs on Saturday at a rally to support school funding. The rally was held outside the Capitol.

Gloria Phenix (left) and Marilyn Ault, both of Topeka, display signs on Saturday at a rally to support school funding. The rally was held outside the Capitol.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard (left) and State Board of Education Commissioner Sue Storm, D-Overland Park, talk Saturday during rally in support of public schools.

State Rep. Barbara Ballard (left) and State Board of Education Commissioner Sue Storm, D-Overland Park, talk Saturday during rally in support of public schools.

Between 200 and 300 people braved the heat Saturday for an outdoor rally at the Capitol to show support of public school funding.

Between 200 and 300 people braved the heat Saturday for an outdoor rally at the Capitol to show support of public school funding.

— Several hundred supporters of public education on Saturday criticized state funding cuts to schools and sounded the alarm about Gov. Sam Brownback's agenda.

Kathy Cook, executive director of Kansas Families for Education, said Brownback's stated intention to cut the state income tax would reduce revenue available for education.

"Our schools would face cuts like they've never seen before," Cook said to rally-goers outside the Capitol.

Brownback has said Kansas' tax structure needs to be changed to attract more businesses and improve the economy.

And House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said next year's fight in the Legislature will be between "restoring cuts to eduction or tax cuts for big business."

Since Brownback has taken office, base state aid has been cut by $232 per student bringing it to $3,780 per student, which is the lowest level since 1999. Brownback has defended his actions, saying they were necessary to balance the state budget in tough economic times.

Mark Desetti, with the Kansas National Education Association, said Brownback and the Legislature have approved "20th century funding for a 21st century education."

Brownback has also said he wants to overhaul the school finance system because it is frequently under legal challenge. School supporters at the rally said they didn't see anything good coming out of that.

A group of Lawrence teachers attended the event.

Lori Greenfield, a fourth-grade teacher at Prairie Park Elementary, said budget cuts are forcing larger class sizes, which makes it more difficult to reach each student.

"It's all a numbers game versus being about the students," she said.

David Reber, a biology teacher at Free State High School, said he was tired of public officials "undermining and acting against the interests of public education."

He said what is happening in Kansas is part of a national trend by politicians on the right "to degrade public schools."

Deena Burnett, president of the Lawrence Education Association, and a teacher at West Middle School, said people need to wake up.

"If we don't get out of our homes and become vocal, everything will be privatized," she said.

The rally was held in conjunction with similar events across the nation.

It was sponsored by Kansas Families for Education, Kansas NEA, and the American Federation of Teachers-Kansas. Several other unions showed support at the rally.

Comments

SouthWestKs 2 years, 8 months ago

Found this in a SWKs local newspaper by a school board.. Voted to adopt the annual waiver of the generally accepted principals of accounting.. Boy this gives you a warm & fuzzy feeling.. Has your school board done this??

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newmedia 2 years, 8 months ago

What's the beef? I thought Lawrence teachers were just voted a raise for next school year. And while their at it, how about tax cuts for small business!

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Jimo 2 years, 8 months ago

"Brownback has said Kansas' tax structure needs to be changed to attract more businesses and improve the economy."

Business isn't going to come to a Kansas with lousy schools and a poorly educated populace.

Brownback makes an error common to many on the right: over-emphasizing the effect of taxes on business decisions to the exclusion of all else. If low taxes were the be-all and end-all of business, Somalia ("Investment Wonderland") would be on the cover of Fortune magazine.

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rgh 2 years, 8 months ago

You have to remember that Brownback's kids have gone to private schools so he's never faced the challenges that everyday folks like us face. I guess everyone that voted for him can afford to send their children to private schools as well because you'll need to so if cuts continue. It's getting to the critical stage for public education and reasonable funding. Our legislature has cut and cut. Good luck to those districts who have tapped out their Local Option Budget and been taxed to death with nowhere to turn.

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Peter Macfarlane 2 years, 8 months ago

There should be enough money in the budget to insure that every child, including the specials and those at risk, experiences success in school. This especially means that funding programs for early intervention of at-risk kids.

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kansanjayhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

When we already are spending 65 cents of every dollar on education I think we need to look at the Administrative costs and what we are getting for all of this spending. We are all supportive of great educations for our children but we know that money alone is not the answer we need true reform in education.

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Soapbox 2 years, 8 months ago

W H I N Y L I B E R A L S ,,,,,,,,,,BOO HOO HOO......BUY WHAT YOU NEED, NOT WHAT YOU WANT. DO NOT FINANCE THE FUTURE ON THEIR ........backs! GIVE ME, GIVE ME .......WHINY

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Fossick 2 years, 8 months ago

"Mark Desetti, with the Kansas National Education Association, said Brownback and the Legislature have approved '20th century funding for a 21st century education.'"

It's actually 20th Century funding for a 19th Century education, as the system with which we are presently saddled was designed in Prussia in the 1800s and transplanted here by Horace Mann et all in that century. But whatever.

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getreal 2 years, 8 months ago

Each year that our schools are not properly funded puts us at risk. You only get one chance at 1st grade, and if you are a struggling student in a class of 30, there is a good possibility that you will not receive the attention you need. It's time to fund our schools, it is a state responsibility, not a local responsibility.

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keith manies 2 years, 8 months ago

Don't criticize the LEADER! The LEADER knows whats best for Kansas. NOT!

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notleft_notright 2 years, 8 months ago

I think that is a great idea. Put financing back in the hands of local school boards. Home rule.

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Gandalf 2 years, 8 months ago

Brownback has also said he wants to overhaul the school finance system because it is frequently under legal challenge. School supporters at the rally said they didn't see anything good coming out of that.

Brownie name one thing that you have done that hasn't resulted in a legal challenge.

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