Archive for Monday, December 16, 2013

Brownback proposes fully funding all-day kindergarten

December 16, 2013


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, talks about some of the issues of 2013 during an interview by the Lawrence Journal World on Monday, December 16, 2013.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, talks about some of the issues of 2013 during an interview by the Lawrence Journal World on Monday, December 16, 2013.

— Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday proposed that the state provide $80 million over five years to fully fund all-day kindergarten.

In the Lawrence school district, where approximately 850 kindergarten students already attend all day, state funding would mean an additional $2.2 million in revenue, Lawrence district officials said.

"Funding full-day kindergarten is one of USD 497's highest legislative priorities," said Lawrence Superintendent Rick Doll.

Currently the state provides funding for half-day kindergarten, with the remaining portion funded through local dollars. The increased funding, Brownback said, would come out of financial balances that have been built up over the past couple of years.

"Numerous studies show that all-day kindergarten results in students who are more involved, productive and ready to read at appropriate grade levels," Brownback said.

Brownback's plan would provide an additional $16 million in state funds for each of the next 5 years, or $80 million in total.

He announced the proposal as he held a series of interviews with reporters in preparation for the 2014 legislative session that starts Jan. 13.

Lawrence doesn't charge a fee for all-day kindergarten, but some districts do.

The Eudora school district charges a fee of $250 per semester to cover the cost not covered by state aide. Eudora Superintendent Don Grosdidier said the fees were implemented after the district experienced budget cuts.

Brownback's proposal quickly launched a political response over cuts to education and a pending court ruling that schools have been shortchanged hundreds of millions of dollars.

"The No. 1 priority should be restoring the cuts Gov. Brownback already made and fully funding our schools," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Democrat from Lawrence who is running against Brownback for governor in 2014.

The Kansas Supreme Court is weighing arguments in a lawsuit that could force the Legislature to increase school funding by more than $500 million per year. A lower court panel ruled the state unconstitutionally cut funding while also approving massive tax cuts.

In an interview with the Journal-World, Brownback declined to say how the state would respond if the court ordered a funding increase. A ruling is expected in the next month or so.

"Let's see what they do," he said of the court. "My major effort is going to be to see that the schools are not shut down."

He said the all-day kindergarten proposal came about through meetings with legislative leaders and school officials.

On another education front, Brownback said, "I'm not hearing any consensus view," from legislative leaders when it comes to higher education funding.

Earlier this year, Republican leaders approved cutting $34.3 million in state funding over two years to the public universities, making Kansas one of the few states in the country to reduce higher education funding. Higher Education officials said the cuts were responsible for a portion of the most recent tuition increases.

Brownback signed those cuts into law, but he has said he wants to restore the funding.


Don Frey 4 years, 3 months ago

Politics as usual. Does he really think he could ever be president!!?

Scott Burkhart 4 years, 3 months ago

I know. Just like President Obama, right?

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 3 months ago

So we hate him when cuts funds from education AND we hate him when he proposes to fully fund a proven, highly effective educational program. I'm confused.

David Reber 4 years, 3 months ago

It's because people watch what he does rather than listening to what he says.

Remember, this is the guy who did a publicity stunt, er..., I mean,... "listening tour" of public rally for better funding thereof; and then proceeded to sign a $34 million budget cut to higher ed. This is the guy who campaigned on protecting public ed funding during the recession; then proceeded to sign the largest public ed funding cut in the history of the state. It's a safe bet that he's already worked things out with his cohorts in the legislature to make sure no increased-funding-for-kindergarten bill actually reaches his desk.

Seth Peterson 4 years, 3 months ago

Well, he's dishonest, so it's impossible to take anything he says seriously. When he cuts funding by $35 million, then claims to have $80 million in built up financial balances and is fighting to prevent teachers from earning a decent wage the whole story seems to have a Brownback edge to it (dishonest leaning).

Scott Burkhart 4 years, 3 months ago

I know. He's just like President Obama, right?

Seth Peterson 4 years, 3 months ago

Not really, see above comment. They're both politicians, so of course you have to take a grain of salt either way, but Governor Brownback actually doesn't seem intelligent enough to understand what's going on and tends to be an intentionally bad person.

Linda and Bill Houghton 4 years, 3 months ago

He may understand what is going on and just thinks that he can pull the wool over everybody's eyes. Unfortunately, that may be true in too many of the districts.

Beator 4 years, 3 months ago

In the 80's, Lottery pusher's said the money collected from gaming would provide enough money for schools.

Distribution of funds

Since the Kansas Lottery's start-up in November 1987, through June 30, 2009, Lottery ticket sales have produced $1,121,022,843 in revenues transferred to the State of Kansas. The Lottery's Fiscal Year 2009, which ended June 30, 2009, produced $230.5 million in sales and $68.2 million transferred to the state.

What happened to all that money?

Paul R Getto 4 years, 3 months ago

I believe most of the money was always intended for the general fund. Since schools get a large part of this, they can benefit, but it was never earmarked for the K-12 schools.

Gary Denning 4 years, 3 months ago

If Lawrence would receive an additional 2.2 mil for all day K, it would have to cost a lot more than 16 mil to pay for it state wide. The gov's math looks a little fuzzy to me. And this program would have the additional effect of causing some districts to build extra classrooms if they don't already offer all day K. I'd like to know the REAL cost of this measure. I'd probably support it, but it would be nice to know the real cost before patting the gov on the back for a job well done.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

What Sam Brownback says does not mean much. He is a master at deception aka he cannot be trusted to follow through for we know he does not in his heart support public education.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.