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Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2011

Democratic Party chairwoman urging against Kansas Legislature’s school funding cuts

May 5, 2011

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— State Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon on Thursday urged Kansans to contact their legislators and tell them to properly fund schools.

“Governor Brownback and the House leadership are shortchanging our schools, and it’s time to stop,” Wagnon said at a news conference.

Brownback, a Republican, and the Republican-dominated Legislature have proposed cuts to schools and other areas, saying they are required to balance the budget without raising taxes.

Under Brownback’s budget proposal, base state aid to schools would fall to $3,780 per student, the lowest amount since the 1990s. A House budget plan would decrease that amount even more. Before the Great Recession kicked in, base state aid was $4,400 per student.

Wagnon, a former secretary of revenue and legislator, said the Legislature should devise a long-term strategy to cut some business tax credits and get rid of some sales tax exemptions.

“We can’t just keep cutting taxes and cutting schools,” she said.

Comments

Dave Trabert 3 years, 2 months ago

There they go again, implying that base state aid is what schools receive from the state. Joan Wagnon and others know full well that state aid per pupil will be more than $6,000 per pupil next year. KSDE says it was $6,326 last year and said it would be $6,500 this year prior to recessions of about $109 per pupil. The Governor's Budget Proposal had total state aid at $3.1 billion, which works out to $6,784 per-pupil at current enrollment levels.

Even if the final number for next year is slightly less than proposed, state aid would still be more than twice what it was in 1992. It is appalling that Joan Wagnon would make such claims for political gains knowing that it would scare parents.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"Even if the final number for next year is slightly less than proposed, state aid would still be more than twice what it was in 1992."

Schools were badly underfunded in 1992. Calculating the effects of inflation at 3.5% per year, funding would need to double just to keep up. Meaning that schools are still badly underfunded.

Talk about lying with statistics, but I'm sure the Koch brothers appreciate your efforts.

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Dave Trabert 3 years, 2 months ago

But inflation wasn't 3.5% per year. The Consumer Price Index for Midwest Urban Cities rose just 53% between 1992 and 2010. Please explain how correcting false claims about spending being cut and using real inflation numbers is using false statistics?

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notanota 3 years, 2 months ago

Nor was the initial figure for 1992 adequate funding. So figure out what the true, weighted level of funding should have been in 1992 per Mock v State and then give us that figure for today at a 53% increase. That would be some really helpful context, Dave.

Oh, and don't forget to add in all the extra administrative costs from idiotic NCLB mandates, because that's another thing that's changed between 1992 and today.

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notanota 3 years, 2 months ago

1992, eh? Yeah, what an interesting and arbitrary number to pull out. It wouldn't have anything to do with that being around the time that the state education system funding scheme was found to be unconstitutional and we began a series of litigation that would mandate increased funding? Oh wait, it would. It's appalling that paid Koch propagandist Dave Trabert would leave out that detail for political reasons. At least Joan Wagnon is honest about her political affiliations.

And you know very well when you crunch those numbers and carry that water for the Kochs, that lowering the base student aid risks losing matching funds for special education funding - forever - because of maintenance of effort clauses. Funding that we, as state taxpayers, will still have to provide so long as we take any federal money for schools. When we permanently lose the matching SpED funds, it will be state dollars that take up the slack. After more lawsuits if they don't get that constitutional amendment in place (and probably more even if they do). Those are some expensive cuts, Dave.

I know you and the Kochs don't need to worry about well-funded public schools, but some of us would rather we not have to resort to lawsuits to get our schools the money they need.

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Dave Trabert 3 years, 2 months ago

I didn't bring up 1992; I just corrected Joan Wagnon's very misleading statement about 1992. And speaking of misleading claims, lowering (or raising) the starting point of the formula has no bearing on special ed funding. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Special Ed funding comes off the top, so increasing Special Ed funding is one of the reasons that the base number has been reduced. It's appalling that the feds would threaten to cut support for not spending more when the truth is that schools aren't even spending all of the Special Ed money they've been given.

The carryover cash balance in Special Ed was $132 million in 2005 but jumped to $181 million in 2010. That means $49 million in Special Ed aid schools received over those five years wasn't spent.

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notanota 3 years, 2 months ago

Interestingly, I didn't see quotes around the statement, implying that it's a researched figure from our award winning LJW reporters. If you've got the original statement, I'd be happy to look it up.

As for maintenance of effort, here it is. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/statutory/moe-guidance.pdf It appears that they are indeed talking about base funding. Your reasoning also seems to be at odds with DOE officials that have already told the state that they were in danger of failing to meet MOE. It may be appalling, but that's how they roll, and playing by different rules will cost us taxpayers more, Dave. Once we lose MOE, we lose it forever. It doesn't get us on track to get the funding back. Do you want to make a $100 million dollar bet that you're right? I don't.

Take up the individual spending patterns with the districts. If my child was getting shorted on SpED services, I certainly would, but those SpED funds can only be spent on SpED, and they can't be used to calculate MOE.

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notanota 3 years, 2 months ago

I didn't see quotes around the statement, implying that it's a researched figure from our award winning LJW reporters. If you've got the original statement, I'd be happy to look it up.

As for maintenance of effort, here it is. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/statutory/moe-guidance.pdf It appears that they are indeed talking about base funding. Your reasoning also seems to be at odds with DOE officials that have already told the state that they were in danger of failing to meet MOE. It may be appalling, but that's how they roll, and playing by different rules will cost us taxpayers more, Dave. Once we lose MOE, we lose it forever. It doesn't get us on track to get the funding back. Do you want to make a $100 million dollar bet that you're right? I don't.

Take up the individual spending patterns with the districts. If my child was getting shorted on SpED services, I certainly would, but those SpED funds can only be spent on SpED, and they can't be used to calculate MOE.

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one_teacher 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't know where you came up with that number ($6326), but here's the Kansas Commissioner of Education's letter dated April 1, 2011 that compares current aid per pupil to proposed cuts (it reflects the first proposed cut, the one referenced in this letter would reduce funds even more). The numbers are broken down by district so you can see exactly how much money will be lost.

http://www.ksde.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=L9vtRpIClag%3d&tabid=119&mid=8049

As a teacher in USD 497, I can guarantee that we feel every missed dollar. From lax security to graffiti ridden walls and bathrooms to limited amounts of textbooks, we will feel the hit and the quality of education we are able to provide will suffer.

Finally, education cuts aren't a liberal or conservative issue. They're a human issue. We either value the education our children receive in this country, or we don't.

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Dave Trabert 3 years, 2 months ago

That letter is only talking about the starting point of the formula. Think of it in terms a long algebraic equation. Base State Aid Per Pupil is just one of the variables in that equation. KSDE does teachers and everyone else a disservice when they don't talk about total state aid and only focus on one piece of it. Every number we use and post on KansasOpenGov comes from the government - KSDE, local districts or some other agency.

I don't doubt that teachers feel every change in spending. Making changes to classrooms and teachers are one option but just that - one option. Most local school boards and administrators have a wide range of options available to them.

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notanota 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, you do like to remind us about your use of government figures, Dave. It's the numbers the Kochs pay you to hide and the true context that we'd love to see. It would be really helpful if you belonged to an organization that was truly non-partisan and really did allow us to openly see government numbers and make informed decisions instead of serving as the mouthpiece for corporate interests.

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one_teacher 3 years, 2 months ago

Correction: the Commissioner's letter reflects the first proposed cut the cut referenced in this ARTICLE would reduce funds even more.

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SouthWestKs 3 years, 2 months ago

There was a article in the Dodge City paper about money for the district.. They have 6000 students but because of state aid they will get money for 10000 students!! I do not think schools are hurting.. I think they have to much money now.. Bring on the cuts..

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Ralph Reed 3 years, 2 months ago

Provide a link, please. Otherwise, your statement is baseless.

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Dave Trabert 3 years, 2 months ago

SouthWestKS is right. This is how the funding formula works. Base state aid is the starting point for the formula; districts also receive other money in the form of weightings. Essentially, many students are given a 'weight' of more than 1. In the case of Dodge City, the weighted student total for funding purposes was 40% higher than actual enrollment.

A spreadsheet showing the calculations for each district is on the KSDE site at http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=1830 Select the file called 2010-11 Legal Max. Column S shows FTE enrollment and Column AU shows the total weighted students.

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deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Dodge City Schools: Students 5,800 total students 1,650 high school students 800 middle school students 3,250 elementary students 500 pre-Kindergarten students http://www.usd443.org/district.cfm?subpage=24466

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wastewatcher 3 years, 2 months ago

HEY BIG SPENDER, We all know Wagnon's history and earned reputation, Just how do you propose to pay for this?

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wastewatcher 3 years, 2 months ago

HEY BIG SPENDER, We all know Wagnon's history and earned reputation, Just how do you propose to pay for this?

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wastewatcher 3 years, 2 months ago

HEY BIG SPENDER, We all know Wagnon's history and earned reputation, Just how do you propose to pay for this?

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