Archive for Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Statehouse Live: Teacher retirements, reductions increase dramatically

June 14, 2011, 11:42 a.m. Updated June 14, 2011, 3:06 p.m.


— Kansas classrooms are losing teachers in record numbers, a report released Tuesday shows, and that is because of cuts to schools and changes in the public employee pension system, education officials said.

“There are a tremendous number of attacks going on against teachers today,” said State Board of Education Chairman David Dennis, a Republican from Wichita.

Dennis said low pay, increased pension costs and a push by Republican leaders to try to replace the current pension system and switch to a 401(k)-style plan are all factors.

“If I was in college right now looking at what I want to do with the rest of my life, I am not sure I would chose teaching as a profession,” said Dennis, who is a public school teacher.

In addition, the budget signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Sam Brownback will cut schools by about $100 million, according to the Kansas Association of School Boards. Base state aid will decrease $232 per student, to a 10-year low of $3,780 per student.

The new report showed dramatic increases in teacher retirements and layoffs — called reductions in force — in Kansas over the last two years when public school funding has been cut.

More than 1,500 teachers retired in the 2010-11 school year, as compared with a range of 1,028 to 1,092 over each of the four previous years, the report said.

Reductions in force totaled 350 this school year and 260 last year. The previous three years had reductions in force of 49, 21 and 7.

The statistics were in a report presented to the State Board of Education. And officials said those numbers may be low because they were collected in February.

Pamela Coleman, director of teacher education and licensure at the Kansas Department of Education, said teacher retirements have increased because “people wanted to retire to ensure that KPERS (Kansas Public Employees Retirement System) would be there in their retirement.”


skinny 6 years, 10 months ago

I can't blame them. They'll make more money double dipping then taking any more cuts!

Katherine Greene 6 years, 10 months ago

How will they be double dipping if they are retired? I'm just not catching your drift.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 10 months ago

Collecting retirement while working for a different employer.

skinny 6 years, 10 months ago

Double dipping as in getting another job. Collecting their retirement and working again, double dipping!

Thinking_Out_Loud 6 years, 10 months ago

And as long as they are retirement-eligible and breaking no laws, why should I care?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Just a minute--are you aware that 65 cents of every dollar from the Kansas general fund is being spent on education?--That sounds like the people of this state do indeed value K-12 education. It is just that in hard times and bad economies we have to tighten the belt! Just like a family where the bread-winner loses his job or gets a pay cut. No more vacations or going out to eat. These are hard times and the Legislature did a good job balancing these issues and keeping as much funding available as possible.

deec 6 years, 10 months ago

Kind of like buying band uniforms and building redundant stadia when times are tight?

gudpoynt 6 years, 10 months ago

No more vacation or going out to eat, fine.

But not putting your kids through school? Seems draconian.

How on Earth have the Teapublicans managed to frame public education as an expendable luxury for the state? Sad.

tolawdjk 6 years, 10 months ago

Of course, if the Kansas General Fund consists of entirely one dollar, that is about 65 cents going to fund public education.

All your number does is express the fact that the majority of Kansas's General Fund goes to education, not that it is a signifanct amount of dollars int he first place.

WilburNether 6 years, 10 months ago

"The shortage is reaching epic proportions"?!? You do not know what you are talking about. Please do come back in August and eat your words when almost every teaching position in the state is filled.

weegee 6 years, 10 months ago

Teachers who are not at the top of their pay scale also means teachers without experience and without as much training. Is that what we want?

billbodiggens 6 years, 10 months ago

Yep, I always say hire the cheapest doctor you can find to operate on your gut. It saves money. And hire nothing but new and cheap teachers so that everyone in the class room in on an even playing field. Sure would not want to risk having the teacher know more than the kids. Yep, by my way of thinking inexperience is always preferable, AND it cheap. Yep, cheap is the way to go, all righty.

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

I remember the principal of my grade school worked summers as a finish carpenter, when asked why he taught, he would talk about the excitement of teaching and the excitement of being in real community. I am sure the best teachers should be respected by the community, instead they have been demonized and marginalized by the radical right. We have not stood behind our teachers, we have delivered larger classrooms and less support. We have not stood behind our own children's educators. We sat by while the radical right denigrate science, because the answers are not good for short term profits. I don't think oil billionaires should be deciding environmental standards, or health stands for the populous. Their solutions are not to be trusted, their lackeys are not to be trusted, with our children's education, with our health and not with our tax money.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Hummm--- somehow i thought that was the Democratic mantra because they want to tax us all out of existence... and then claim that they are there to "help" us with on of their many gov't social programs. Programs that actually make us more dependent upon them and their big government solutions.

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

BIg government solution seems to be tax the poor, cut the services, Cut taxes to the wealthiest. Both sides. it make me sick and koch brothers wealthier.

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

I suspect you fail to mention the part where you had been paying no attention for 2/3 of the semester and suddenly wanted a personal explanation to what had been explained repeatedly.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Before your junior year, you probably should have learned that the letter 's' doesn't necessarily mean a word needs an apostrophe.

Kyle Chandler 6 years, 10 months ago

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Most hilarious thread of the day!

jsbreith 6 years, 10 months ago

That is the best response I've EVER heard!!! AMEN!

tomatogrower 6 years, 10 months ago

Of course, you have to pay for a lot of expensive university classes to still be eligible for that mid to high 50's. You can't make that much unless you get a masters or a Phd.

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

You get paid for 188 or so days, not for a whole year. You have the option of taking home less during that time and then having that money given to you over 12 months, but you are not paid for 12 months. The down-time is more than compensated for in the already moderate salary.

Beth Ann Bittlingmayer 6 years, 10 months ago

They don't get paid for 12 months. Their 9 months' worth of pay is simply split over 12 months. At one time a teacher could choose to have the pay spread over 9 or 12 months.

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

He made as much money in three months as a finish carpenter as he made as a principal. He was a very good carpenter, he was a very good teacher. He didn't sit around fantasizing that everyone with a good education and two jobs had it handed to him. He worked. Try it.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 10 months ago

Not anymore, administration pays well now. Also, administrators have to work 50 weeks per year.

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

Do you know what a finish carpenter makes? You are correct in one thing, The school year is much longer. Even back then the hours included almost every night, grading , class prep, endless meetings and events.

weeslicket 6 years, 10 months ago

try this option: work 9 months, unemployed for 3. work 9, unemployed 3. etc. and you get paid for 9 months, not 12. (also, you don't get unemployment coverage when you're unemployed)

jhawkinsf 6 years, 10 months ago

I believe teachers are underpaid and should be paid much more than they are now. They are college graduates, often with advanced degrees and continuing education credits. They perform an important function within our society. However, it should not even be considered that they be eligible for unemployment benefits during the summer months. Unemployment benefits are designed for those unanticipated periods of time when a person finds themselves unemployed. It should not be used as an ongoing method to supplement the incomes of people who work seasonably. That's not what the system is for. Give teachers a raise, yes. A big raise, yes. Unemployment each summer, no.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 10 months ago

Not only a raise, but a big one. Yes, I know we don't have a money tree, but it's an investment worth making. By the way, I send my child to a private school because the public schools just can't provide an education that I'm satisfied with. But that doesn't mean the school system should be abandoned. And I'm not in favor of vouchers either. I'm making my own choices and I don't expect anyone to pay for my choice. The kids of today will be my caregivers in the future. They will be protecting my freedom and they will be working and paying into the system when I'm no longer able to. Again, pay 'em what they're worth, which is more than they're getting now.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 10 months ago

Just raise taxes of known Libertarians and give it to teachers. Just kidding. But there are things that need to be paid for. This is one of them. Cut spending elsewhere, raise taxes, a combination of the two. Whatever. But having quality schools is an essential part of society. It must happen.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Again, a solution that ignores the fact that there's no profit in educating the kids of parents who cannot pay.

BadLlama 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm a teacher. I've got a second job in the summer to make ends meet, I'm taking 15 credit hours at Kansas State University to continue my education and gain re-certification, AND I have worked with students every day for the last two weeks (school has been out for nearly a month) without any extra pay. Why? Because I believe my job has value and I enjoy what I do. I am getting another degree so that I can be BETTER at what I do, so I can be a BETTER teacher to the students who rely on me. This is a full time job and I work hard everyday, 12 months out of the year, even though I am only paid for 9 of those months. I will continue to educate to the fullest extent of my ability, despite all the attacks from parents, community members, and government officials who have no clue what I do and believe me to be greedy and lazy simply because I chose to teach.

gkerr 6 years, 10 months ago

Badllama, The miserable routine you describe is part of the problem. There is the Educational monopoly requiring hours of courses in Universities and teachers colleges to acquire recertification to do the same miserable job of educating the same victims of a Public School system that is a self serving grist mill for incompetents. You may not be getting another degree to help your students, ah yes for the students, but rather it is more likely that by paying the freight of the tuition to the teachers colleges, you get a degree that increases your pay scale. Degrees mean next to nothing except as income and business for Schools of Education and increased perks for teachers.

The public school establishment is a giant mess in nearly all Cities and more and more parents don't want their kids exposed to the anarchy of values free, moral imagination free, big government indoctrination. Parents of all races and socioeconomic classes want vouchers to give them choice in education and every turn they are stonewalled, obfuscated, evaded, lied too, misrepresented all on behalf of a failed educational monopoly that has become a cult of Progressive emptiness.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Yes, education shouldn't be about free imagination but rather about the private indoctrination and limited scope available from a private school. Genius.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago


There weren't, at least at the high school I attended.

raegannb24 6 years, 10 months ago

as a parent of a 1st grader, i say THANK YOU for not giving up on our kids. The KS govt could learn a lot from YOU!

Kyle Chandler 6 years, 10 months ago

No kidding...keep your head up....someday someone might take care of these NAZIS in topeka.

gudpoynt 6 years, 10 months ago

and don't forget, it's 9 months of 10+ hour days for most, not including any other extra curricular activities or sports the teacher may be involved in.

Some people are just ignorant. That's a given. But what baffles me is why they insist on proving it to the rest of the world.

"'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt." - Abraham Lincoln

dpowers 6 years, 10 months ago

I AM a teacher, and I wish that I could also do that!

formerksteacher 6 years, 10 months ago

PaladKik, so do I, and I'm a teacher! My contract is for NINE months, not twelve. The week after school dismissed, I worked for two days. Next week I work three. The following I will work another, then will come back early to set up my classroom. There will probably be more in between. Not complaining, I love my job and (almost) all that goes with it. But why do people still think that teachers work for nine months, get paid for twelve and still get three months of 'vacation'? That's old school thinking!

bevy 6 years, 10 months ago

To all you teachers out there - THANK YOU for what you do. Those of us with students in school know that most of you do a great job, under tough circumstances, and still have to listen to idiots like LibertyOne spout drivel and insults. My dad taught for 28 years. We were never rich, he worked extra jobs in the summer time in addition to being frugal and doing most things himself. But he believed the work he was doing was important.

To the poster who said that a teacher was getting an advanced degree just to increase her pay scale - have you priced a Master's Degree lately? Even if her pay scale does increase, it will take years (if not decades) to recoup that investment. Not to mention that continuing ed hours are required in order to stay licensed.

Do other professions have this requirement? Do lawyers have to do a few hours of college every summer to keep their law licenses? Do doctors?

It's high time people started treating teachers like the professionals they are. High time we started paying them that way, too.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 10 months ago

What wealthy politicians don't get is that without new industry and jobs the economy cannot bounce back.

Repubs and Tea Party folks have done ZERO towards this end.

Wealthy politicians parading around the country have no idea how important jobs are because they are never broke plus tons of campaign dollars further enrich their wealthy lifestyles.

Since repubs took over the house and before they took over the house they have done nothing but slam all efforts to get the economy moving again. In the six years they had complete control of the white house and congress they lost 11-15 million jobs.

People..... Neither the repubs nor the nonsense Tea Party have a plan,never had a plan and cannot produce a plan. It is all BS rhetoric!!!

The Kansas Legislature Is THE PERFECT EXAMPLE!

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Actually they do haVE a plan - apparently you do not like it. Their plan is to reduce taxes and regulation on business so business will invest in creating more jobs. It has worked before.

Raising taxes so that the government can create jobs by favoring certain industries can work but puts government in an non-historic position. It also increases the opportunity for corruption.

Increasing regulation costs money and reduces jobs albeit it may save lives. It too increases the opportunity for corruption

average 6 years, 10 months ago

"Their plan is to reduce taxes and regulation on business so business will invest in creating more jobs. It has worked before."

Since you're making the statement, where and when do you submit "it has worked before"?

Five years ago, the Chicago Boys were pointing how low/flat taxes and deregulation was working great in Ireland and Iceland and Latvia, etc. All of which turned out to be basket-cases.

Kyle Chandler 6 years, 10 months ago

Id love to see where this 'worked before' as well.

It sure 'works' for the top %3 of the economy i.e. THE RICH.

Everyone, I think George wants to donate all of our teachers some much needed cash. Thanks George!

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago


There are about 30,000 teachers in kANSAS. The difference between 1100 and 1500 is about 1.5%. A RIF of 350 on 30,000 is a little over 1%. What is the big fuss. Sounds like another meaningless article to justify more money for education. I believe there are better arguments.

Tracy Rogers 6 years, 10 months ago

Reducing teachers at the same time enrollments are going up.

Sounds like a problem to me.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

What trend chart?

  1. RIFs will decline again when there is more revenue
  2. Retirements will likley continue to incraese as the teachers we hired to teach the boomers (hump in births) retire as they are now eligible to do

Explain the trend again??

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

The bottom line is this: we spend 65 cents of every dollar from the State general fund on some form of education in this state! We need to make sure that we are getting our moneys worth by reducing administration and getting more money to the classroom and the teachers.

weeslicket 6 years, 10 months ago

from the article: Base state aid will decrease $232 per student, to a 10-year low of $3,780 per student.

kansasjayhawk: We need to make sure that we are getting our moneys worth by reducing administration and getting more money to the classroom and the teachers.

contradict yourself, much?

Scott Morgan 6 years, 10 months ago

kansasjay you are correct.

the 3,780 per student includes everything including administration costs. Other funds are slotted for upkeep and buildings. There are districts hint hint hint who are warned by the state about being too top heavy in administration.

funny thing, just a few decades ago a city or district was charged with educating youth. A rule of thumb, not always perfect is to look at the old schools in a city. Lawrence valued education and it shows with the old facilities. Lawrence developed public education through the community and school boards. Now we just try to conform to the ever changing regulations and Lawrence has no chance to be unique or strive for perfection.

I make it a habit of looking at older schools when traveling. Sometimes ironically poorer communities really put in the money to educate in times gone by. Maybe wrong, but I see it as we can do our youth better than we have it.

If this was the case now I guarantee you this, Lawrence would have a viable trade school operating.

Not only in Kansas, but everywhere due to the power grab by the feds we find confusion on who where when why how schools are funded.

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

You do realize, I hope, that this figure includes: Preschool funding, the entire Regents system of state universities, area vocational-technical schools across the state, the Kansas State Dept. of Education, part of the Kansas State Dept. Of Health and Human Resources (who handle licenses for various school-related occupations), the cost of the State Board of Education, the building and maintenance of all the above AND Kg-12 education.

When people throw this figure around they often assume or give the impression that it is what we are spending on funding Kg-12 education annually, which is totally wrong.

The cost per pupil ratio right now is about where it was in 1990. Can YOU live on the same dollar amount as in 1990? Costs have risen alot - health care, gas, food, housing, etc.

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

Liberty - the source is the LJW; they ran a chart here just within the last week showing the cost per pupil payment the State makes over the last 20 years.

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe we are talking about 2 different figures. I was talking about the amount the state pays, per pupil, to a school district. That amount has gone way, way down in recent years to the levels of the early 90's. It rose quite a bit around 2005? or so, then retreated to the current amount. What your data refers to is the actual spending per pupil by school districts. So my figures are the State's part of the contribution only. So the State is contributing less, while costs continue to rise, so we both know where the difference is being made up - local tax increases. The State spent much of the last 15 years passing back door tax increases (while touting their tax cutting).. In other words, they changed the laws to allow for additional local taxes and then cut the State contribution. So, I don't think we have a disagreement here, we were speaking of two different amounts. I probably caused the confusion by not being clear in the first place. The per-pupil spending is often referred to as a ratio even though I'm not sure that is an accurate term.

unite2revolt 6 years, 10 months ago

I am all for consolidating districts and reducing overhead to save money. Kansas has a crazy amount of School Districts. The problem with the 65 cents reference is that is is basically untrue. To make your statement true it would need to say off the approved general fund expenditures 65 cents of each dollar spent goes to some form of public education. Dept of Ed gets 53 cents and the Board of Regents gets 12 or 13 cents depending on if you round up or down. In most years the general fund does not spend all of its revenue in order to maintain a reserve for leaner years. In those years we spend more than the total revenue and the reserve from the previous year often borrowing money to fund expenses.

gudpoynt 6 years, 10 months ago

2 potential problems with consolidation:

1) In many rural districts, it's simply not feasible. Parents would not be happy if their children had to ride 3+ hours each day on a bus. Transportation costs would go up dramatically.

2) Studies overwhelmingly show that increases in class size lead to poorer student performance. That's not the way we want to go at all.

Consolidation can certainly make sense in some scenarios, but there are significant costs to consider before doing so.

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

I don't think your figure of 65 percent is correct, but lets say you are close with the facilities and utility bills, etc. That 65 cent is coming out of my pocket, while 0% percent is coming out of the wealthiest. I don't mind paying teachers. I would and have voted for smaller classrooms size and better front line teacher pay. It isn't delivered, always more important to do something else. Now they are blaming teachers for their pension deficit, when the legislatures made promises and IOU's and spent the money on staff and economic development schemes. SCHEMES. Teachers are our best investment in the most valuable resource Kansas has. What we can't afford is billionaires sucking our tax base and riding on the working person's dime.

Centerville 6 years, 10 months ago

Baby Boomer retirement is putting the Nelson on all sorts of retirement funds, including Social Security. But if the teacher in the picture is young enough to retire full-boat KNEA, then something is very rotten in that system.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

This article appears to me to be disingenuous.

Two sources establish that we have about 30,000 licensed teachers in Kansas. An increase of 300 in reductions in force and 300 in retirement is a 2% impact assuming there is a link to recent budget decisions.

With respect to the RIF actions I will grant that link. With respect to retirements I think more logic should be provided. Retirement is earned and these teachers were eligible. I suspect many will be back in other districts as substitutes – if they still want to work – they may simply be retiring.

Whatever the case, 2% hardly constitutes a dramatic increase!!!

I know; this is Lawrence. By questioning the logical construct of an article I am disrespecting teachers and revealing myself to be a greedy, non –progressive boor. I love our simplistic level of discussion.

Tracy Rogers 6 years, 10 months ago

Reductions in force this year = 350 last year = 260 two years ago = 49 three years ago = 21 four years ago = 7

You're correct that 2% of 30,000 doesn't constitute a dramatic increase. But what is the percentage of increase in RIF over the past several years? That's the dramatic increase.

511,258 kids in school last year. 496,143 five years ago.

Fewer schools today than five years ago.

All this equals more kids in the classrooms.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

More kids in classroom. Not by the data provided. Good or bad?? Studies suggest a flat spot in kid performance against class size. Could be bigger urban schools as opposed to smaller rural schools. Data suggests population of staTE IS MOVING IN that direction

Tracy Rogers 6 years, 10 months ago

Fewer teachers, more do the math.

kugrad 6 years, 10 months ago

I think the number of licensed teachers probably includes a fair number of individuals who no longer teach but are still licensed. Many teachers leave within the first 5 years and many who retire retain licenses for substitute teaching. The real number we need is highly-qualified (as opposed to conditional license or sub-only license) subject-area teachers who are or want to be employed full-time in public or private schools.

Kyle Chandler 6 years, 10 months ago

that math is too 'simple' for George, concerned1.....i applaud you though for laying it out in 'poor mans terms'. George requires a complex web of BS he can regurgitate to his other nazi friends.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

see comment below oh wizzard of "poor man terms"

neudog 6 years, 10 months ago

Teachers are the path of a brighter Lawrence, Kansas and United States. Why would anyone in their right mind question this article? It's fact that teachers are not appreciated, are being squeezed both in resources and in pay and are dropping in numbers. You can't argue that. If Lawrence wants to be progressive they'd find ways to attract the brightest teachers in the state (and/or coming out of KU) and keep them happy.

BTW - My wife has taught at LFSHS for 5 years & quit this previous year. A number of circumstances cited in the article, couple with personal items, lent themselves to her resignation. But it had absolutely nothing to do with her fellow teachers or the students. She absolutely LOVED the kids and colleagues. Anyone teaching at USD497 has a true passion for what they do & our community.

If educators are reading this - please know your appreciated and respected. We need you in Lawrence for our children's sake and to progress and a community.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

The article above is not about whetehr we respect teachers. It is about retirements and RIFs. The extrapolation to low morale is just not there. May be true but it is not substrantiated by the article.

gudpoynt 6 years, 10 months ago

The article above is about the most recently elected administration and legislature, and their degree of respect (or lack thereof) for teachers and public education in general.

You bet your (_*_) it is.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

That is what I thought. A puff piece used as a political instrument.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

What has that got to do with teachers? Is it your contention that teachers should get to impose wheatever costs they think appropriate on the taxpayers, the majority of whom make the same as the average teacher?

verity 6 years, 10 months ago

A very big thank you to all our teachers. You have to be a special kind of person to be a good teacher---not qualifications that I have.

I suspect that the percentage of complainers on these boards do not represent the percentage in the general population.

I have no children, but education is certainly one of the things that I want my tax dollars to support. I have profited from it and I profit from having educated people doing their jobs.

Thank you.

gudpoynt 6 years, 10 months ago

Curious George, what in your mind is more important than public education and why?

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

I think public education is very importnat - up there with rule of law, survival of institutions, respect for the individual and the like.

I just fail to see how ever more money necessarily makes for better eduction.

gudpoynt 6 years, 10 months ago

ah... but explain to me how less money makes for a better education.

Clevercowgirl 6 years, 10 months ago

More proof that the Statehouse, and many constituents do not understand/support public education. This is evidenced in our disregard for our teacher's financial security. Our teacher's low to mid range salaries have been offset by a good retirement package. If KPERS is taken from the teachers benefit package, that represents a large pay cut. If our teacher's retirement benefits are cut, an even larger number of qualified teachers, who deserve our respect and support will jump ship. And of course, our kids will ultimately pick up the tab. They will have fewer professional and inspired teachers.

Kyle Chandler 6 years, 10 months ago

WOW! read the comments above...think...repost

worklikemad 6 years, 10 months ago

In the summer, my husband goes to work at 5:00 each morning in a toilet paper distribution factory until 4:00 p.m. After that, he drives to the office building he cleans for another 2.5 hours (he does this part during the school year as well). For all of this glamour, he gains roughly $400 per week for about eight weeks. This, with a Masters Degree. When you are a teacher, you don't have 90 days to be employed in a viable position which offers any kind of decent pay. Think about it. If you were an employer, would you hire someone for a lucrative position who was only available for eight weeks?

Once again, my husband gets paid for nine months of work, spead out over twelve months.

Thank you to all the teachers out there!

hmati 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm a former teacher returning to the profession this coming school year. I have been off after 7 years of teaching because my departing salary of $38,345 was not enough to afford daycare for our two children so I stayed home and ran a home daycare. I made great about $28,000 caring for 4 addtional kids. My oldest child is ready for preschool so I am going back to teaching (which I love) and so far, my summer has consisted of several things that pertain to this discussion.

While running daycare, I cared for teachers' kids. The kids finished coming to me on Fri. May 27, the last day for teachers to work in the districts around me. I had Memorial Day off like most professions and then attended a 3 day UNPAID inservice for my new job before even signing my contract. All of my co-teachers were there too, unpaid, meals at our expense, and any with children had to pay childcare for three days. (Obviously, I am aware that if you have children, they have expenses. However, the point here is that every teacher in my building attended this inservice after their contract ended, at their expense, merely for the purpose of professionalism.) I had that Friday off, and then earned money babysitting for 4 days last week for my daycare moms who had inservices in their district that they had to attend for free. This is my first week of "summer." I do have the next couple of weeks mostly free except for the time I will spend working in my completely empty classroom and time i will babysit to earn money. In mid-July, I will take a two week class, Mon.- Fri., 8-5, completely at my own expense. The class will only give me three of the 10 hours I would need to move over on the salary schedule. I will have the last week of July off and then will attend, unpaid, the new teacher academy for my district for three days before starting my contract on August 8. I just signed a contract for 188 days (this accounts for all breaks) for $38, 134.

This is the reality of many teachers in my generation. The nonsense about 170 days,3 months off, getting a full-time job for 3 months of the year and other silly talking points come from people who have never bothered to research the reality. Almost anywhere in Kansas, a teaching contract is about 187 days (not 170) and they already account for days off. This summer, I will donate 16 days of free professional development to my district at my own expense and until I get my additional 7 hours, will not move one dollar on the pay scale. I don't know any other profession where so many employees (there are 22 teachers in my summer class and about 26 that attended the unpaid professional development) would do that on their own time and expense for the sake of professionalism and still find boards like this that criticize, devalue, and scrutinize.

gccs14r 6 years, 10 months ago

If 65% of the current budget is expended on education and it's not enough to keep up with our needs, it sounds like we need a big tax increase.

unite2revolt 6 years, 10 months ago

Most young teachers I know in Kansas can't find work in their profession and feel extemely lucky if the do. Many districts have hiring freezes in place and are not replacing retiring teachers with new teachers but rather with tenured teachers who had taken other jobs in the district so they can eliminate those non-essential positions. Yet our higher education system continues to recruit young adults into education degree programs. The job market for teachers is extremely poor right now, and each year more teachers graduate from college and are forced to take jobs working outside their field. Reductions in force may contribute to this by adding a glut of experienced teachers to the field of jobseekers.

Kim Murphree 6 years, 10 months ago

"Things are tough all over" NOT REALLY. By "things" I guess you are referring to the economic situation of most middle class Americans...and yeah, its tough, all right...10 years of Bush Tax Cuts haven't done anything to help that either...not for us...but of course the top money makers in America are very happy--problem is--the only thing tied to those cuts has been recession for the rest of when you say "things are tough all over" first, remember, not really, there are people, many who have inherited their wealth, who do not struggle to keep a roof over their heads or food on the table--and that's where MOST of us are these days--struggling with those basics. In addition, when you say "things are tough all over" does that mean that we shouldn't DO something about it? We should just accept that teachers are leaving their posts and our children will pay the price? I see this all the time--instead of supporting teachers and also demanding that private industry increase salaries--people focus on what they perceive as the greener grass and work hard to take that we can ALL be eating brown grass. Power dead-even rule is one term for it, and it is a very negative way to look at the world--to compare what we don't have with our perception of what someone else has--I believe the word is "covet" in Biblical terms. I think that's the worst kind of social thought there is---instead, why not hold private industry accountable..don't let them take away bargaining rights...demand what you are worth....did you know that while middle class incomes have decreased corporate profits have increased? THAT should be the issue you are outraged about...THAT is the issue...they get tax breaks and bailouts and do nothing to create more jobs, better jobs, but want us to hand over all the functions of government to the private sector? Good grief. Lift UP the teachers, support collective bargaining, civil servants, Social Security, Medicare---you who say government can't be trusted...don't know history very well...there was a time when private industry was given a free hand and we had the GREAT regulation, all privatization? Please stand up and say NEVER AGAIN...or we WILL have an economic crises...think TARP funds...deregulated banks...and what? We pay them out of the hole AND lose our homes? Yeah, let private companies handle everything til you are on the streets--as for me, I support teachers, unions, collective bargaining, and a balance between government and business. Its called Kansas Common Sense...we need it BACK in state government!

Kim Murphree 6 years, 10 months ago

Herbert Hoover didn't try anything until we were well on our way down... are you saying that regulated business caused the Great Depression? What fantasy fiction history are you reading?? Good grief. My mom was alive then, she told me firsthand all about how banks and private businesses were in charge of everything...and not a government official thought that regulations should play a part...that government should balance the banking tell us how you would rewrite that truth. Reagan deregulated the banks...where were you then?

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

Liberty is making it up. He reads what he wants, his creative interpretation of data and information is bizarre.

gkerr 6 years, 10 months ago

Vocal, Most conservatives I know were against the bailout of banks, wall street, unionized American auto makers who were bankrupted by overgenerous union perks, and the 800 billion dollar program to stimulate the economy, which of course did no such thing. You attack greedy corporate fat cats and corporations cozy with the government.  Good for you.  I do too and so do most sane Americans.  Before you seethe more at republicans be aware, if you are not already aware but ashamed to admit it, that most Wall street fat cats, New York bankers, media elites, entertainment elites, corporate elites are democrats or democrat supporters.  GE's Immelt has been in bed withe Dems for years, same with Google Mogels, Silicone valley billionaires, BP executives, Cap and Trade investors, denizens of the Hamptons, Martha's Vinyard, Cape Cod, Warren Buffet, the 200 plus Soros front corporations, big Law, big labor,  big education, even big Pharma, Big medicine, Toni neighborhoods of New York, Chicago, Boston, etc. are all Democrat heavy areas.  Dems dominate the elites.  Elites love the Dems cause they are a bit easier to buy than the Republicans who are all too ready to sell themselves as well.  

I want individual citizens empowered, not corporate elites and not government.  Government corruption and abuse, greed and isolation of politicians from their citizens, is a travesty.  Corporate, business, nonprofit, and cultural elites buying corrupt politicians is a travesty as well.  Enough is enough.   Look we are by some accounts (USA today, Bill Gross of Pimco bond fame) between 61 and 100 trillion in debt based on Federal government services already in arrears and promised services with no visible means of paying for themselves by any accounting standards.  Vocal, 100 trillion dollars is a whole lot of money, 100,000 billion dollars to be exact.  Government especially Federal government but some state governments as well is out of control and corrupt, really corrupt.  It's time for tough love.  It is time for all us cool aide drinkers to wake up. Gkerr

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

et al

Guess somebody did not do well in math. 1% is still 1%. Not dramatic. I would wonder why it is so low. Surely there are at least 1% of our teachers who are not up to par and should be released each year???

If you can find a better number for teachers in Kansas please do so. Your argument that there must be one is not relevant unless it is substantially different from mine. If there are only 15,000 teachers we are talking 2%. Not dramatic either.

I personally know of two recently graduated teachers looking for work. Does anybody have more than speculation AS TO a real shortage??

worklikemad 6 years, 10 months ago

Keep in mind that the numbers listed in the article were from February. The numbers that we need for the most recent cuts weren't handed down until mid-May, when schools received cuts from per pupil funding. This is mentioned near the end of the article.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

OK, what are they. Most schoold districts pretty much knew the numbers months ago and planned accordingly

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Surely 1% of our teachers are not up to par and should be released each year... A bold statement. Why? How do you know? Do you have any data to support your claim? Or do you just feel like that's the case?

Math. Science. These are the teachers who are needed the most.

Furthermore, I suspect that fewer than 1% of CEOs are released in Fortune 500 companies per year. Why are they not scrutinized (I've skimmed your past hundred comments and found no scrutiny of this), despite the fact that they are able to utilize massive tax loopholes while running firms that similarly dodge their taxes? These CEOs not only dodge taxes, but frequently benefit from government subsidies and contracts. Their slices of the pie are much greater. In fact, you wrote a post essentially lamenting how everyone else is demonizing business. I'm now going to lament that you are (whether or not this is your intent) demonizing teachers by constantly saying "surely some of them aren't good enough." Yeah, but life doesn't work that way in nearly any other profession.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Actually I want after Carley.

I don't pay for them through my taxes as I do the teachers. OBTW HP just "fired" several last week Not really a valid comparison. Teachers work for us while CEOs work for their stockholders.

I would willingly pay more for math and science teachers and have said so.

So all teachers are perfect and none need to change careers because they just don;t have it or have bcome ROAD. Good lord man look at trunover elsewhere. People get fired. 1% is low

unite2revolt 6 years, 10 months ago

The shortage is not in teachers the shortage is in teaching jobs.

Here is some data:

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

An argument above was that the low pay was creatring a shortage of teachers. That is what I addressed.

unwantedspork 6 years, 10 months ago

It couldn't be that with manifestations of the standards movement such as NCLB that push for an increased focus on math and reading and a decreased focus on social studies and the arts has caused a decline in the civic education of our children, could it?

Or that 'skills-based' education that looks to prepare children for the labor market often finds the social sciences to be the easiest subject to cut? But of course we blame teachers, despite the fact that they have lost remarkable ground in creativity and freedom over the last decade to increased pressure from the government and the community to standardize education and remove 'less necessary' elements of education.

"Fixing this problem isn’t easy. Education in the United States has become focused on developing marketable skills for scarce jobs and less on the skills of citizenship. The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act has forced schools to focus almost solely on math and reading, which often leaves history and civics in the dust. As a result, most fourth-graders spend less than two hours a week on social studies in the classroom."

How much experience, pray tell, do you have with the education system? Do you understand what factors go into the construction of curriculum and how little control teachers wield over the things they're teaching these days? Do you understand that public education is a multi-faceted thing that is controlled not just by educators but by parents, politicians, administrators, and even textbook authors?

Teachers aren't the ones to blame here.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 10 months ago

According to Kansas Legislative Research, total state spending on K-12 education is increasing by $86 million next year, from $2.971 billion to $3.057 billion (both totals include Dept. of Education operating costs of approximately $10 million). According to the school finance formula, amounts required for Special Education, pension payments and the state's portion of local bond payments are deducted from total aid; the remaining balance is then distributed according to the formula on weighted per-pupil basis. Since the increases in those 'off the top' items are greater than the $86 million increase in total aid, a reduction in base state aid was necessary. However, districts were also given authority to supplement base state aid by as much as $232 per pupil for FY 2012.

Effective July 1, 2011 school districts are permitted to transfer unencumbered carryover cash balances from a group of twelve funds to be used for any operating purpose. Some of these balances have always been available but to the extent that restrictions existed, the new law (SB 111) expedities access by lifting all restrictions. The state department of education provided us (Kansas Policy Institute) with fund balances by district; a more thorough explanation and amounts by district are now available at To my knowledge, complete details by district are not available anywhere else. You can find the authorizing legislation at by looking up SB 111.

Use of this money, which mostly represents state and local tax dollars given to districts in prior years but wasn't spent, is not mandatory. It's an option available to local school boards to avoid teacher layoffs and other program cuts.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

He, Dave Trabert, graduated cum laude from West Liberty State College with a degree in Business Administration.

Business. Administration. Hardly an expert on education. However, Dave does frequently speak to Tea Party rallies, and serves the business sector well. Can't maximize the old profit margin without dodging even more of the tax burden, right?

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

I'll go ahead and bite, though.

1) Let's look at the Shawnee Mission School District, which budgets about $224 million. Your site says they have a potential available (whatever that means) of 18,623,669 dollars. 18.6 million divided by 224 million equals 8 percent of the total budget.

The state just cut $232 per pupil, and SMSD can only make that up for 3-4 years according to your figures out of that contingency fund. Most businesses would run on more than an 8% cash safety net, so why do you insist that the schools refuse to have that?

2) The state is authorizing LOCAL governments to pick up the $232 per pupil that the state isn't funding anymore. That's just passing the buck.

Listen, I'm all ears for an actual solution - you're not seeming to give that, though.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 10 months ago

That $18 million is money the district was already given to operate schools. It wasn't given to build up cash but to educate students. This isn't asking local governments to pick up the tab at's suggesting that now might be a good time to use the money as it was originally intended.

By your estimate of this option only existing for 3-4 years, that gives SMSD plenty of time to find ways to operate more efficiently. Between 2005 and 2010, SMSD current operating costs (total less capital and debt) rose 32% while enrollment declined 4.3%. They increased administrative costs by $6 million in 5 years! Their per-pupil operating increase of 38.1% is one of the highest in the state. (The state average is 24.4% over the last five years.)The actual solutions to SMSD's funding problems lie in operating the district more responsibly. FYI, you can check my numbers at

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Stop cherry picking numbers, first of all.

The budget, between last year and this year, has already chopped around $11 million in the district in question. SMSD has older facilities, requiring more maintenance.

And the $18 million was likely already tied up in other restrictions, such as facilities improvements, etc., rather than being usable for anything else.

Saying that they shouldn't build up cash is impractical. All government services should have a minimal operational level of cash, enough to survive an economic downturn. I realize you don't agree with that, but I would think you would understand the necessity of this, given your business background.

The school district takes in ALL students. It costs more to handle special needs and special education. Your "solution" for "responsible" handling of the district would simply shed jobs, hurting the economy even more. It makes no sense. You're acting as though the districts are on this massive spending binge, but the district in question for this comment thread, like many others, is decreasing operational expenditures every year.

Finally, not passing the buck? Seriously? Communities (like Hutchinson, not too long ago, if I recall) are having to increase the local option budget to make up for the school districts not getting the money from the state.

If your political goals were not so obvious, I would have an easier time accepting your numbers. You've shown in this argument enough intellect to create an argument to support your position using cherry-picked statistics and numbers, rather than looking at the entire situation, to achieve a desired goal - lower taxes - especially for the rich.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 10 months ago

Cherry picking numbers is a great description...of what school districts like SMSD have been doing. For example, when districts talk about cutting budgets, most people understand that to mean they are spending less money; in many cases, including SMSD, that hasn't been the case. SMSD's current operating spending increased each of the last three years...maybe not as much as they wanted it to increase...but it still went up.

Here's another example of cherry picking (to put it nicely). The salary information on the link you provided is about $20 million per year lower than the total payroll costs SMSD gave us. We asked for a list of employee earnings for the last three school years and posted them at The difference may be that we requested total pay, not just salary...but again, when someone reads 'salary' they likely think that that is 'pay'.

The $18 million sitting in those funds is not tied up for anything. The district classifies that money as unencumbered. It simply represents tax money received in prior years for the purpose of educating students.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

"This section contains the payroll listings for a sampling of the 289 school districts in Kansas. These districts were selected to provide geographic and enrollment variety; more districts will be added as funding permits. The data was collected from each district through an Open Records request. Payroll listings are organized on a school year basis beginning in 2008 (2008 is July 2007 through June 2008) . The amounts reflect total pay, including base wages or salaries, overtime, bonuses, pay for not using sick leave, teaching an extra class, working in an after-school program, coaching, car allowance, cell phone allowance and other reasons that vary by district. "

So teachers shouldn't receive overtime? Bonuses shouldn't be used to retain talent? Being present at your job shouldn't be rewarded? Picking up an extra class so the district doesn't have to hire someone else isn't a good thing? After-school programs are unnecessary? Explain. I don't see all of the figures and calculations you've done. I'm sure it's possible that both estimations of the budget are incorrect.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Furthermore, your website is misleading. It is simply an extension of your policy institute, a portal for you to post your ideas to quote them for legitimacy. In no way would any rational person conceive that this website is truly open or reasonable, the purpose of the site is to attack government. Plain and simple.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 10 months ago

Please explain how the web site is misleading. Every single piece of information comes directly from government entities. Our policy ideas are not included...just facts provided by government.

As a matter of fact, the State of Kansas has a link posted on the official State web site in the Transparency section.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

Let's start at the top, shall we?

Graphic of a piggy bank with money in it. Immediately sets the tone against government spending. Powered by the Kansas Policy Institute (hey, I guess that isn't your policy ideas, just a blatant endorsement of your organization).

Oh, what's this, directly quoted from (gasp) the front page of your site? "This site is powered by Kansas Policy Institute, an independent non-profit organization that develops ideas to help all Kansans succeed without government the true entrepreneurial spirit of the state. Transparent, efficient government is essential to providing cost-effective services, keeping tax burdens low to encourage job creation and protecting individual liberty.."

Tracy Rogers 6 years, 10 months ago

Every check register I know of lists deposits as well as payments. How come yours doesn't list deposits? Do you know when the State payments reach school districts?

Tracy Rogers 6 years, 10 months ago

Come on Dave, why don't you tell the whole story. The only reason the State is increasing spending next year is to replace the federal stimulus money that won't be there. So there is no "increase", since they didn't maintain the level they were funding prior to the stimulus money coming in the last two years. It's just a shell game and you're helping promote it.

Bottom line is, the State is far short of what the Courts told them they should be funding. They're far short of what their own Legislative study told them they should be funding.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 10 months ago

The stimulus money was a one-time supplement; it was not intended to be permanently baked in to ratchet up spending. Districts will still receive $12,000 per pupil next year.

That legislative study you referenced contains an enormous caveat that schools are aware of but choose to ignore. On page 2, the auditors say "it’s important to remember that these cost studies are intended to help the Legislature decide appropriate funding levels for K-12 public education. They aren’t intended to dictate any specific funding level, and shouldn’t be viewed that way. Finally, within these cost studies we weren’t directed to, nor did we try to, examine the most cost-effective way for Kansas school districts to be organized and operated. Those can be major studies in their own right. However, such issues potentially could be addressed in the on-going school audits we’ll be doing after these cost studies are completed. Topics for those audits will be approved by the 2010 Commission, which was created by the 2005 Legislature."

The auditors weren't asked to estimate what it would cost to achieve outcomes AND operate schools efficiently. Unfortunately, they were never allowed to conduct those studies because the 2010 Commission caved to the education lobby and stopped the efficiency audits.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

I find it absolutely hilarious / ironic that you, a professional lobbyist, are here complaining about the education lobby, when your financiers are pumping money into lobbying as well. When you stop lobbying, you can complain about their lobbying.

jafs 6 years, 10 months ago

That's exactly right - the stimulus was not supposed to permanently prop up education funding.

The state was supposed to fund the system adequately, according to their own studies, and the KS SC decision, which they failed to do.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

vocal (anonymous) says…

You know if all those demanding more money for education were clear as to sources the arguments might be different. If it is to come from the state than it comes from the taxpayers the majority of whom have not seen raises in years. Not surprising they may not want to further reuce their standaRd OF LIVING TO BENEFIT SOMeOne who in many cases makes more than they do. The very demand in the face of awareness that most middle class people are at best marching in place opens one up to being disrespected

If we are going to tax the rich or the corporations to pay for education, resistance might be different.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

"You know if all those demanding more money for education were clear as to sources the arguments might be different. If it is to come from the state than it comes from the taxpayers the majority of whom have not seen raises in years. Not surprising they may not want to further reuce their standaRd of living to benefit someOne who in many cases makes more than they do."

Corporate taxes. Loophole closing. Refusing to make a single additional tax cut, and levying a tax increase on the wealthiest 5%. You play, you pay.

I could go deeper. Legalize marijuana. I know, never happen. I don't even smoke, but it's about as harmful as drinking while smoking a cigarette, yet it sends hundreds to jail in Kansas every year. You legalize, tax, regulate. You let the people out of jail for nonviolent crimes. This saves money and earns it.

"The very demand in the face of awareness that most middle class people are at best marching in place opens one up to being disrespected."

Not really. I'm sorry, but there's no excuse to disrespect someone because they feel like they should get paid more. We all feel that way. We've been beaten by our bosses into believing that we don't have a right to feel like that. But let's just be perfectly honest; a large number of workers are simply not paid adequately (in bigger firms especially) and it isn't because it costs too much it's because our economic laws are designed to help the largest corporations and not the smaller hometown businesses that drive a larger part of the economy and hiring overall. Seriously, tell me why it is taboo for me to talk about getting a raise at work, but the President of the company can exercise a stock option / sale and profit to the tune of a quarter million bucks every few months? That's not even counting his salary). Yes. Class jealousy. I know, I already said it, so cry about my post later, conservatrolls. I don't care if it looks like jealousy; the fact is, the elite in this country are wealthy, and they are generally getting wealthier at the expense of the poorer, and anyone who believes otherwise is silly, anyone who believes our government represents anything BUT those large firms is delusional, and it's time to pay some actual attention to what is going on, rather than fighting over the idea that teachers - TEACHERS, OF ALL PEOPLE we could look at in our society - are paid too much.

"If we are going to tax the rich or the corporations to pay for education, resistance might be different."

Yeah. It'll be more organized. You'll have to contend with Dave up there, for starters, along with a bevy of lobbyists and the politicians they fund. And, apparently, all they have to do is point out that taxes suck - and guess what? A bunch of us will join the TEA Party, because hey, taxes DO suck! So, we'll take our marginal tax decrease of a percent or two, amounting to less than $1000 per year, while they take home $10,000 or more in savings every year, thanks to this activity.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

Feel better??

No disrespect to teachers meant. It is not disrespect to question who will pay for the pay raise and to not volunteer to be the one selected.

llama726 6 years, 10 months ago

We get it. Someone here hurt your feelings (guess what, it was a mean liberal since conservatives never seem to upset you) because they interpreted what you are saying as a conservative mantra.

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

And how many times haev I agreed with LO or even Tom S (haven't seen him lately) Is he in somebodiy's dog house??

exlion 6 years, 10 months ago

consumer1 has not done the research. A teacher with 20+ years of teaching, with a master's degree, earns less than 49k in usd497

George Lippencott 6 years, 10 months ago

And the average taxpayer in usd497 makes what?? That may be the problem

Paul R Getto 6 years, 10 months ago

PaladKik (anonymous) says… "Things are tough all over." ==== You are correct, PK. The rich are broke; now the middle class and the poor must pay for it.

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