Archive for Tuesday, July 9, 2013

State education board seeks $656 million funding increase

July 9, 2013


The Kansas State Board of Education voted today to seek an estimated $656 million funding increase for fiscal year 2015, which begins next July.

Department of Education officials said that represents the difference between the budget that Kansas lawmakers have already approved for next year, and what is otherwise required to be spent under various formulas currently in state law.

“I believe that if there's a statute on the books, it should be funded,” said board member Sally Cauble, a Republican from Liberal.

The 7-3 vote was seen as largely symbolic because it is unlikely to influence Gov. Sam Brownback or the conservative-controlled legislature, which has focused the last two years on cutting income taxes and reducing state spending.

“I would love to see us get to where we can spend this kind of money on schools, but I don't think we can do it in one fell swoop,” Republican board member Ken Willard of Hutchinson said. “I'm reluctant to vote for this because it represents a humongous tax increase.”

Kansas lawmakers this year passed a two-year budget that appropriates money for both the current fiscal year that ends June 30, 2014, as well as the following year that begins next July 1. But Brownback still has authority to request changes to next year's budget, and so state agencies like the Department of Education are going through their normal process of submitting budget requests to the administration.

Most of the money the state board is seeking — about $443 million — would come from raising the base funding formula to the statutory amount of $4,492 per pupil.

Currently, the state is spending only $3,838 per pupil. That is scheduled to go up next year by $14, to $3,852.

Another $113 million would come from fully funding the subsidy the state pays to help fund the local option budgets of less wealthy districts.

The board's request also includes about $72 million for full funding of state aid for special education, and $25 million to fully fund a program that subsidizes the capital outlay budgets of less wealthy districts.

The Lawrence school district does not qualify for either the local option budget or capital outlay subsidies.

Other programs included in the board's request that are spelled out in statute include the Parents as Teachers program, school lunch subsidies and professional development for teachers.

But the governor and legislature are no longer the only people deciding next year's budget, especially when it comes to education funding.

In January, a three-judge panel ruled in a school finance lawsuit that current funding levels violate the Kansas Constitution's requirement that the legislature make “suitable provision” for financing public schools. The judges ordered the legislature to increase funding by an estimated $515 million, based largely on many of the same statutory requirements.

That case is now on appeal before the Kansas Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in October. A ruling is expected around the first of the year, about the same time the legislature begins its 2014 session.

Education news
Have a story idea?
Contact Journal-World education reporter Elliot Hughes:


Beth Bird 4 years, 9 months ago

I do not want to answer questions to read a news article.

maynardzenith 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree. I subscribe to the print edition; I like to read online as well. The questions that I have to wade through to read the articles online are absurd.

LegendaryBeast 4 years, 9 months ago

Really? I LOVE the questions before an article. They are completely irrelevant and sometimes I like to lie in my answer in hopes that I'm skewing somebody's research/marketing project. In fact, after I answer the questions and the article that I was looking for pops up, I find myself wanting to answer another irrelevant question!

Bobby Burch 4 years, 9 months ago

I haven't read a single google question, though I've given plenty of responses ... Anyone else with me on this tactic?

appleaday 4 years, 9 months ago

People who are uneducated or illiterate wind up being incarcerated at a much higher rate than those who are educated. The costs of keeping someone in prison are far higher than the costs of a basic education. Here's just one article:

appleaday 4 years, 9 months ago

I was trying to make the point that an educated populace is a productive populace. People who are uneducated are unemployable for the most part and have a greater tendency to use illegal drugs, participate in crime, and wind up in prison. Those who are educated tend to get jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to society. And, yes, the savings from not paying for incarceration are worth considering. What is it now per prisoner -- something like $60K per year?

appleaday 4 years, 9 months ago

There are a lot of factors that have contributed to the economy of today, including the Wall Street and Big Bank fiascoes over the years.

Alyosha 4 years, 9 months ago

Curious statement: "To this point in time, more people are on government assistant than are working to fund the people on assistance."

Provide unbiased data to prove this assertion.

Otherwise you're part of the problem.

onemansopinion 4 years, 9 months ago

An educated population IS pro-growth and pro-business. Too bad the governor and those that make up the majority of the legislature didn't learn that lesson in school.

Alyosha 4 years, 9 months ago

Now there's a well-argued policy proposal. Next?

jack22 4 years, 9 months ago

Heck, they should just add in another ten million and make it a nice round number.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 9 months ago

To add a little more perspective that KSDE ignores, total taxpayer support of public education set a new record in 2012 at $5.771 billion and Dale Dennis says another new record was set in 2013 at an estimated $5.816 billion...or $12,738 per-pupil. If pressed, KSDE will admit that state funding of public education was $6,983 per-pupil in 2012. Details are at The 2013 data was sent to us via email by Dale Dennis and is summarized at

The state has dramatically changed how schools are funded over the years...and in such manner that invalidates simple comparisons of Base State Aid. Data provided by KSDE in Open Record Requests is summarized at and shows how funding has changed since 1998. KPERS and Bond & Interest are extracted and shown separately.

Schools always provided service for special education, bi-lingual, At Risk, etc. but funding for those services once were included in Base State Aid. In 1998, schools received $3,670 per-pupil in Base and $178 for everything else (plus KPERS and Bond). In 2012, schools received $3,780 in Base and $2,176 for everything else (plus KPERS and Bond). So not counting KPERS and Bond, state aid per-pupil increased 55%...from $3,848 to $5,956.

The State Board of Education and KSDE also ignore the fact that student achievement on independent national tests are relatively unchanged since 1998 despite billions more in funding. Despite a real (inflation-adjusted) increase in per-pupil spending of 35%, test scores are unchanged. The same applies to ACT scores...virtually unchanged.

It costs a lot of money fund schools but it's how the money is spent that matters...not how much.

kochmoney 4 years, 9 months ago

There's a reason he cites 1998 to now. He'll say it's as far back as his data goes, but the real reason is so he can ignore the big jump from the Montoy decision. Kansas was unconstitutionally underfunding schools in 1998.

So if you look at 2007 (the year after the Montoy decision took effect) and compare it to 2012, you'll see funding has decreased.

Tracy Rogers 4 years, 9 months ago

In 1980 we spent 3.5% of our income on public education. Right now we're spending 3.1% of our income on public education.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 9 months ago

Percent of income spent on education is a meaningless statistic. It has nothing to do with the amount that's needed to be successful. Also, personal income includes a number of things that are not available to spend on anything. PI includes payroll taxes paid by your employer, pension and healthcare payments made by your employer to name a few. If those elements increase faster than the rate of increased spending on education, it artificially appears that the percentage of PI spent on education has gone down.

Percent of PI is a measurement used by those who prefer not talking about how much education spending has actually increased.

chootspa 4 years, 9 months ago

It also doesn't include any state taxes by your biggest donor, the Kochs. Or the taxes paid by your "social welfare" organizations, ALEC and KPI.

chootspa 4 years, 9 months ago

Do you believe it's an insult to have your biggest donor be the Kochs? Or do you believe it's an insult to be part of 501(c)(3) organizations that do not pay any taxes? Or do you believe it's irrelevant to any conversation to ask cui bono when a professional lobbyist shows up to the conversation?

Is it irrelevant to point out that you advocate primarily for the benefit of the rich corporate donors you represent with both ALEC and KPI and wish to engage in conversations about spending taxes your main donors and organizations presently do not pay?

Please clarify for us where the ad hominem and non-sequitur are to be found.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 9 months ago

It's not surprising that your response was just more ad hominems and non sequiturs.

Ad hominem is ignoring the facts and attacking the messenger. Non sequitur is trying to divert attention from the facts (education spending in this case) to an unrelated topic.

Insults don't bother me; it's an unfortunate consequence of standing up for economic freedom. As you know, we don't discuss our donors and no one but our donors know who they are; please don't mistake my ignoring your claims about our donors to be any type of confirmation. No 501(c)(3) pays income taxes on its regular operations; that's why the IRS refers to 501C organizations as non-profit. And we do not "advocate primarily for the benefit of rich corporate donors." We advocate for all the economic and educational freedom of all citizens.

chootspa 4 years, 9 months ago

In other words, yes, you are part of a large, tax exempt lobbying group that advocates for radical libertarian policy changes and writes legislation that benefits your undisclosed corporate donors, including the Kochs. Thank you for disclosing your clear conflict of interest in this discussion. Now let's get to that discussion.

You've had this pointed out time and time again. 1998 was before the Montoy decision. Of course there was a jump between 1998 and 2012. The courts found that schools were underfunded, so a more adequate comparison of funding levels would be from 2007 to today.

You state that national testing rates remaining constant while funding goes up indicates that spending more money isn't helping. You don't know that to be the case. A propter hoc argument, speaking of fallacies. Spending less money could very well result in score slippage, and increased funding needs could be explained by increased federal or state mandates, such as those imposed by NCLB or the 2004 changes to IDEA. It's also worth noting that the independent test scores that have remained relatively steady show that our schools in Kansas are performing well nationally.

Centerville 4 years, 9 months ago

I wish it was only 3.5%. We're spending 70% of our state budget on public education. And we've learned that reading isn't expected until after the fourth grade.

chootspa 4 years, 9 months ago

You did know they teach reading in kindergarten now, right?

Larrytown 4 years, 9 months ago

IMO....the only thing surprising about the board vote was that it wasn't 10-0. OKAY...maybe not...given the politics of the State of Kansas....Ken Willard (for example).

With that being said, I keep saying over and over again how I can't wait for the KS Supreme Court decision on the school funding. Given that two studies (I believe that is the case) have shown that the schools are underfunded...I see another decision (thinking it will happen early next year) in favor of the plantiff. Probably be unaminous again.

Can't wait for Brownback and Co. response! They are going to have a real mess (financially/politically) on their hands come early 2014.

Larrytown 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't be so sure on that....

Like I said, the KS Supreme Court should have a decision around early 2014 (that's the estimated time for now). I think it is very, very likely (probably a 7-0 ruling) that the Court will remedy the case by making the Legislature increase funding. If the legislature refuses (initially)...the Courts will set a timetable to close the schools.

How far the battle's anyone's guess.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 9 months ago

"“I would love to see us get to where we can spend this kind of money on schools, but I don't think we can do it in one fell swoop,” Republican board member Ken Willard of Hutchinson said. “I'm reluctant to vote for this because it represents a humongous tax increase.”

How in the world can it create a large tax increase? Where did the money go?

Kate Rogge 4 years, 9 months ago

Woo-hoo! Man, you just can't make this stuff up.

John Sickels 4 years, 9 months ago

Brownback and the legislature know damn well that the Court will rule against them. They don't care.

I predict that they will simply ignore the court order, setting the state for the worst constitutional crisis in Kansas since the Civil War.

Brownback and the GOP leaders are radical revolutionaries bent on destroying state government and privatizing as many functions as possible.

John Sickels 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm still waiting for Dave Trabert and the Koch Brothers' libertarian, market-based solution for people with developmental disabilities and severe cognitive issues.

purplesage 4 years, 9 months ago

That $3852 is pretty misleading in many situations. The figure, with low-enrollment weighting, LOB and other source of revenue is closer to $10K in many districts.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 9 months ago

...and that's just the portion counted as state aid. Total taxpayer support averaged $12,656 in 2012. Amounts for each district can be downloaded at

oldexbeat 4 years, 9 months ago

gee, Dave is quoting his own website -- here's the whois for

Domain Name:KANSASOPENGOV.ORG Created On:05-Mar-2009 20:34:58 UTC Last Updated On:01-Mar-2012 15:59:05 UTC Expiration Date:05-Mar-2014 20:34:58 UTC

Registrant Name:Dave Trabert Registrant Street1:250 N. Water St. Registrant Street2:Suite 216 Registrant Street3: Registrant City:Wichita Registrant State/Province:KS Registrant Postal Code:67202 Registrant Country:US Registrant Phone:+1.3166340218

what a joke, but then the whole basket of ALEC, Kansas Policy Institute, Koch Brothers LLC -- all one group, quoting each other. Funny but dumb;

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

I wish Dave trabert and his ilk understood that nobody likes pays taxes. We all agree that as individuals, it would be better to keep our hard earned money. Unfortunately, we don't live in isolation from one another. We live in an interdependent society. A society that relies on taxes to provide services to its citizens that its citizens expect to have. Is there waste ,fraud and abuse? Probably, but that is hardly the point. We expect roads. We expect public education. We expect law enforcement. Humans are involved in providing these things and our governmental system was designed to be inefficient to limit governmental power. Low tax societies always end up like Afganistan, Mexico, and North Korea. Guess what? I don't want to live in Afganistan, Mexico or North Korea. If Dave finds their low tax, lower service, truly corrupt approaches more appealing, then perhaps he should live there instead of here. Food for thought.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 9 months ago

I see that mr. Trabert has no quippy answer for my post. Maybe he's moved to north Korea...I don't think they have reliable Internet access there either...

Armored_One 4 years, 9 months ago

I know it would be a truly unique idea, at least in the last 30 years, but how about we actually teach students? Not coddle, coax and cajole them, but teach them.

Either turn in your school work or fail. It's that simple. No having until the end of the quarter to turn in assignments from the first week.

How about we stop awarding students for simply breathing and actually reward success? If last place gets just as much recognition and praise as first place, what is the freaking point of competing in the first place?

If that requires more funding, and more buildings and more teachers, then by all means, jack my blasted taxes up. Just don't do it to defend stupid arse nonsense like thumbing your nose at the courts and refusing to do what is constitutionally required.

Mr. Dave is right. It's how the money is spent, but let me clue you, Mr. Dave. You can't pay 150 bucks in bills if you only have 75 in your pocket. Something has to give somewhere, and it comes in the form of fewer school and fewer teachers. Yes, there are federal programs that are throwing monkey wrenches around like their are made from Styrofoam, but why in the name of all that is good would you gleefully grab up a few truckloads of socket wrenches and start pitching them into the machinery? It's not going to help.

Look up the term sabotage. Find it's beginnings in modern speech. The only difference is no one is throwing a physical shoe. Yet.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.