Archive for Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Statehouse Live: State Board of Education recommends $440 million increase in base state aid to schools

July 10, 2012


— The State Board of Education on Tuesday recommended a $440 million increase in base state aid to school districts.

Supporters of the proposal said the increase is needed to maintain good schools and make up for years of recession-era cuts.

Janet Waugh, a Democrat from Kansas City, said funding education was an investment in the future of the state.

"Our role is to be advocates for students," Waugh said. "We need to recommend to the Legislature what we believe is best for our students," she said.

But critics said the proposal would be dismissed out of hand as too much.

"That is not realistic," said Walt Chappell, a Republican from Wichita. "It will never fly. It will have no credibility," Chappell said.

The funding request was approved on a 7-2 vote with Chappell and Republican Kathy Martin of Clay Center opposed.

The recommendation will go to Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature for consideration in the 2013 legislative session, which starts in January.

Base state aid per pupil has been slashed in recent years as the state grappled with an historic revenue plunge.

Currently, base state aid is $3,838 per pupil, down from a high of $4,438 per pupil in 2008-09. Under state law, base state aid is supposed to be $4,492 per pupil, but budget cuts have decimated that notion. A lawsuit filed by numerous school districts seeks to re-instate those cuts. The board-approved increase would get base state aid up to that $4,492 per pupil level.

Board Chairman David Dennis, a Republican from Wichita, said he dispatched fellow board member Kenneth Willard, a Republican from Hutchinson, to talk with Brownback and get the governor's input on school funding.

Willard said he didn't get any clear direction from the governor's office. Willard cited budget uncertainties, including the school finance lawsuit and implementing federal heath reform, as factors that would make it difficult to provide a specific funding recommendation.

But Dennis said the school finance lawsuit shouldn't effect the board's decision since it will be more than a year before the case is settled by the Kansas Supreme Court.

In addition, the school board identified other funding priorities, including maintaining required funding for special education, and increases for teachers' professional development, mentoring and other programs.


Claudean McKellips 5 years, 11 months ago

We can always afford subsidies and entitlements for the Koch brothers and those who bought Brownbackistan, but never for children, the elderly or those with disabilities. A very sad day in a once great state.

parrothead8 5 years, 11 months ago

"Willard said he didn't get any clear direction from the governor's office."


chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

Queue Dave Trabert for a bit of fear, uncertainty, and doubt from his Koch-funded anti public school group.

ThePilgrim 5 years, 11 months ago

Every high school in metropolitan areas in Kansas, except for Lawrence last year, did not meet the Adequate Yearly Progress requirements ( Most of Wichita's high schools have not met AYP for greater than 7 years. According to NCLB, if a school is non-compliant for greater than 7 years then it must be reorganized top to bottom, all teachers and administration. Obviously that doesn't happen. And these numbers don't change based on funding. The dirty little secret (Ok its not a secret) for why Kansas schools haven't met AYP is two fold: 1. The AYP numbers for reading and math reach near 100% by 2014. Unrealistic, and that is why Kansas has asked for, but not received, a NCLB exemption. 2. Influx of Spanish speaking ESL students skews (somewhat) the numbers. But not as much as complacent kids and parents affect the numbers. And additional funding goes to special education, mostly consisting of having duplicated services, a whole school-within-a-school, for Spanish speaking students. None of increased funding benefits the general school population. Just more administration.

One of the ways to be a teacher in Kansas is to get an license under the alternative licensure program, if you already have a degree in the area being taught. Then you are given a temp license and you must get a Masters in Education within a certain period of time. That degree is completely made up of social worker classes and very little education. Because schooling is more about social work nowadays than education. We have real problems in education in Kansas. And most of them are not fixed by funding.

chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

The bit about every high school in metro areas in Kansas not making AYP was also wrong. As was the idea that special ed consists mostly of duplicate services and a school within a school in Spanish, although I'll chalk that up to just very confusingly worded prose.

chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

NCLB was invented by people that either couldn't do math or were intentionally trying to sabotage the school system by making it look like schools didn't educate by inventing a metric that would be impossible to achieve.

Speaking of math, let's test your assertion about alternative licensure through a MSed. Let's look at what KU would require, since they're right here and easy to search.

I don't see a single "social worker" class listed here. Do you?

Larrytown 5 years, 11 months ago

"And the money is to come from where?"


LogicMan 5 years, 11 months ago

"The State Board of Education on Tuesday recommended a $440 million increase"

Dreaming is a good thing. But then it's time to wake up.

Maybe someday well have a hot economy again and can increase spending significantly, but it's unfortunately not this year or next.

Centerville 5 years, 11 months ago

When will Steve Morris and Chief Justice Nuss get together over lunch to settle this? Before or after the primaries?

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