Archive for Monday, February 6, 2012

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.


roadrunner 6 years, 4 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...

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 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.

question4u 6 years, 4 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!

average 6 years, 4 months ago

You mean that a good teacher with some choice might not choose a district with a low-deductible (or employer-paid HSA) plan over a district where she'd have a $12k deductible catastrophic plan?

thebigspoon 6 years, 4 months ago

Yep. Never mind that the story presents facts only.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 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.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 4 months ago

Thank you so much, sir or madam. I appreciate your exhaustive and comprehensive research into this matter. You are a gentleman/woman and a constitutional scholar.

thebigspoon 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh, yeah, and it (fhnc) follows the discussion so smartly with its rejoinders to nothing being discussedhere, or anywhere else it blathers.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 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.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago


Sure, because it's so easy for poor people to suddenly become rich, so they can afford to live in rich areas.

deec 6 years, 4 months ago

Most section 8 programs and subsidized housing programs are full and there are long waiting lists.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm happy living where I live, and with my standard of living.

Can you also find good jobs for people in the areas they want to live in, transportation if they don't have it and need to commute, health insurance/care if they don't get it with their jobs, child care, etc.?

There's nothing "communist" about the idea that we want to provide a consistent acceptable minimum level of education for all children in the US.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Not at all true.

I've said a few times that I would support local spending in excess of any minimums established, as long as all districts receive enough to provide an adequate education.

I don't trust Brownback's claims - he's claimed a number of things that turned out to be false.

Tracy Rogers 6 years, 4 months ago

I'll move. Just tell me when they've figured out a way to grow wheat and corn in asphalt and concrete.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

It is not what I like but what the courts rule given our constitution

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