Archive for Monday, March 5, 2012

Parent advocacy group to study state’s school funding plans

March 5, 2012


The Lawrence school district is hoping the lobbying power of parents will help convince the Kansas Legislature to better fund schools.

Parent representatives from each of the district’s 20 schools will serve on the Citizen Group for Legislative Education and Advocacy, a group that is tasked with keeping informed on educational issues at the state and federal level.

The group will meet for the first time today, and chief among their charges will be how the state finances the public schools.

“The budget has been gutted for the last three years,” Superintendent Rick Doll said. “We are starting a decade behind where we were three years ago.”

After hearing about a parent advocacy group in the Andover school district, school board member Vanessa Sanburn brought the idea back to Lawrence.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about how schools are financed and who has control over it and who doesn’t,” Sanburn said.

While Sanburn admits the majority of state legislators representing Lawrence already vote favorable toward education, she believes it would be more powerful if they could hear from the parents whose students are affected by changes in state laws and policies.

“It’s important that people are both aware and know who to call if they have a question or position on something that is happening,” Sanburn said.

Doll pointed to the power of testifying in front of the Legislature when last year the school district asked that the state not drop the amount of funding each pupil receives in the district’s virtual school. That testimony helped convince the governor to not reduce the funding.

Doll and Sanburn see the group as being the base that would support a network of parents who could call, email or write to legislators about issues that affect schools.

“We want to be able to react quickly if issues come up and we need to give the Legislature immediate feedback,” Doll said.

And, he said those conversations between parents and politicians can be more valuable than what school administrators have to say.

“When they come from lay citizens instead of professional educators, we believe they carry a lot more weight,” he said.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

Families for Education

Kansas Families for Education, Executive Director, Kathy Cook. 15941 W. 65th Street, #104 Shawnee KS, 66217. 913-825-0099.

This is quite an active organization. Probably 10 years of active duty on behalf of public school funding. This group does work tirelessly on school funding issues.

Kansas Families for Education does spend time in Topeka,Kansas.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 3 months ago

How many threads did you spam with this same text, merrill?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 3 months ago

Where will this group meet?

Who is sitting on this group?

Michael LoBurgio 6 years, 3 months ago

Tell Governor Brownback and Kansas Legislators: Fund our schools fairly and meet the needs of Kansas children

By cutting public school funding in 2011 and proposing an inadequate new school funding formula in 2012, Governor Brownback has sent a clear message that he does not value a high quality public education for all Kansas children.

Taking funds away from our schools leads to:

larger class sizes; children having less time with their teachers; increased levels of academic failure and dropout rates; and diminishing the excellent public education Kansas parents, teachers,

      and employers expect.

The governor and his allies in the legislature claim we “cannot afford” to maintain our educational system yet they want to grant even more tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations. Our schools and the funding formula are not broken. The only thing broken is our promise to our children and the future they face. If the legislature adopts the governor’s plan, our children will be denied the opportunity to succeed at their highest levels.

Kansans need to sign up! The future of our children and their ability to succeed is at stake. Will we settle for mediocrity and decline?

Will you be a voice for our children? Please sign your name to this petition and tell the governor and legislature to fund education and meet the needs of our children.

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

Seeing Mary Loveland in the photograph makes me sick to my stomach. She is the reason we left the public school system.

LadyJ 6 years, 3 months ago

Is this a picture of the last school board? Maybe the photo should be updated.

Dan Eyler 6 years, 3 months ago

I hope the goal is to look at alternatives to the typical education process of the past 20 years. The money isn't there. The taxpayer doesn't have it. Alternatives such as more online courses for junior high and high school which should lower the price of certain aspects of education. If many classes could be done online that reduces costs in the building. The thought that every kid needs to be in a class room to learn is lacking an understanding of how kids learn today and how parents want their children educated. Not all kids would want to take online classes but I would bet that many would take advantage of online courses and there would be far fewer students in the building. Over time class sizes would be reduce requiring less floor space, maintenance and staff. This is just one simple idea and there are many others that need to be looked at. On the other hand if the goal is to keep the same expensive system in place we will continue to be stuck in the same old rut. Those who want to keep the same tired public school system as is and those who want changes that brings us into the 21st century.

kuguardgrl13 6 years, 3 months ago

I can't agree with you. As a future educator and even as a student, I don't see online school as a viable option. The one online class I took in high school I put very little effort into and spent more time on Facebook. Not to mention, if students spends all day in front of a computer, they lose social contact with their peers. Online school also lacks the ability to cater to multiple learning styles (read an article and respond; watch a video and respond). Science labs are impossible, and there is no way to know if a kid is lying about the amount of exercise they do for an online gym class. Also, the Lawrence Virtual School (to my understanding) still involves going to a building, using school-owned computers, and being taught by USD 497 teachers. Online classes also still require a teacher to monitor and grade. Are teachers to be overrun by computers?! I would much rather be able to converse with my students in a classroom setting than email them. It is not the same no matter how you put it. Technology should supplement what occurs in the classroom, not replace it. Education does not function like a factory or a business like so many people think it does. If you're unhappy with the way public education or school in general works, feel free to find another way to educate your kids.

Synjyn Smythe 6 years, 3 months ago

This is what, the third task force/parents group in less than 2 years? How about this: fire Doll and hire a superintendent that is up to the job of gathering information, appropriately advising the school board and making actual decisions? Why is this too much to ask?

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