Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Rich district, poor district on opposite sides of Brownback school finance plan

February 6, 2012


— Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to remove state limits on local property tax increases for schools got a thumbs-up Monday from a wealthy school district, but poorer districts said the proposal wouldn’t be fair to their students.

Representatives of the Wichita, Kansas City, Kan., and Salina districts criticized Brownback’s plan, which is the focus of three days of hearings before the Senate Education Committee.

Cynthia Lane, superintendent of the Kansas City, Kan., school district, said the state Constitution states funding education is a state responsibility. She said attempts to push that responsibility to the local level “cannot be allowed to succeed.”

Lane also spoke in favor of the current finance formula, which provides additional dollars for teaching children who have additional challenges, such as those who are living in poverty or are learning to speak English.

Wichita school officials also opposed Brownback’s plan, noting the unlimited taxing authority for local districts.

William Hall, superintendent of the Salina school district, said Brownback’s plan “will not provide for adequate funding to meet the needs of the Salina students now, or even more importantly, in the future.”

He said the plan fails to connect school funding to the actual cost of educating students and transfers the responsibility for funding public education from the state to the local level

But Tom Trigg, superintendent of the Blue Valley district in Johnson County, said he supported Brownback’s proposal to allow local districts to raise property taxes for schools. Trigg noted this was “a position that Blue Valley has advocated for many years.”

Brownback has said his plan will give local officials more authority in raising and spending education dollars.


Phoenixman 2 years, 2 months ago

Don't like the education in a "poorer" district then move to a "richer" district. We live in a free country for now and Obama hasn't clamped down on movement...yet.


George Lippencott 2 years, 2 months ago

In addition to the constitutional issue there is another time bomb in this concept. If the funding differential between rich and poor districts becomes in the opinion of the courts too large to insure a consistent education the courts will step in once again and it will be the state that is targeted.

If we are going to do this we need provisions in the language that preclude a wide discrepancy between rich and poor districts. The governator is hoping we will ignore that problem until it happens after his watch.

The inevitable result (see other states) will be some form of transfer between the rich districts and the poor districts mandated by court order that will preclude those who think that rich districts will do better from actually attainingt that result.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 2 months ago

Obama, I like to refer to him as "Ba'al" said that the "Constitution" gets in the way of him getting things done.

Ba'al also knows the importance of money. This is why he has "Helicopter Ben" print so much of it.

If Browny was of the same sort of political persuasion as the current regime, he could spin some easy money from "Helicopter Ben" to give to the peeps without money.

(I think I have scientifically supported your hypothesis Getto)


Paul R Getto 2 years, 2 months ago

Nearly all the lawsuits/threatened lawsuits, generally one per generation, were based on this argument. The constitution is a difficult thing. It's always amusing when people say 'money doesn't matter.' Ever hear a businessman or Army general make such an argument? It's just as bogus with schools. If money didn't matter, the 'rich' districts would be falling all over themselves to give their money to the poor kids next door.


FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 2 months ago

What would the peeps without money do without the peeps with money.

Some kids ain't going to make it. But, at least they were taught by a government union teacher for the best chance on earth to make it.


LJ Whirled 2 years, 2 months ago

Isn't the fastest-growing cost health insurance for teachers? More money will just mean a lower deductible, not better teaching.


question4u 2 years, 2 months ago

"There's no correlation between funding and educating."

If you mean to say that there is no correlation between levels of funding and student outcomes, sorry, that's nonsense. That would imply that a district spending $2 per pupil is just as likely to produce National Merit Scholars as a district spending $2,000,000 per pupil, that a school with six books in its library could educate students as well as a school with 600,000 books, and that a school with a 1:1 student to teacher ratio would have no better success at educating than a school with a teacher to pupil ratio of 1: 1,000,000,000,000. "No correlation" means no correlation.

The article to which you have linked provides no logical basis for your statement. Where is the control group? Comparing schools in Utah to schools in New Jersey is meaningless. Try cutting the funding in some of Utah's schools down to $500 per pupil and see if the students still perform as well as those in Utah schools with ten times the funding. That would at least give you a basis for saying whether in those schools (and in those schools only) there was or was not a correlation between funding and student outcomes.

Weirder still is the statement: "That's why I'm in agreement with Gov. Sam's school finance plan."

Why on earth would you think that it was a good idea to let school districts raise local property taxes if you honestly believed that it would have no correlation with the quality of education that the districts could provide? Are you really in favor letting your local school district raise your property tax for a purpose that you believe to be pointless? Wow!


rockchalk1977 2 years, 2 months ago

There's no correlation between funding and educating. Camden NJ High School, with an enrollment of 1,200 students, has less than a 40% graduation rate. Yet the district spends $23,356 per student, more than twice the national average. Not good!

That's why I'm in agreement with Gov. Sam's school finance plan.


jhawkinsf 2 years, 2 months ago

Is the goal equality of opportunity or equality of results? Of course, neither can ever be completely accomplished, but we sure do like to argue about it.


roadrunner 2 years, 2 months ago

Trigg noted this was “a position that Blue Valley has advocated for many years.” And Blue Valley was a poor district when? BV has had big money for many years, so I'm not sure what Trigg's point is...


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