Archive for Thursday, September 12, 2013

Report: State funding cuts to public schools in Kansas are fourth deepest in the nation

September 12, 2013, 2:35 p.m. Updated September 12, 2013, 6:41 p.m.


— State funding of public schools in Kansas has decreased more than in all but three other states since the recession, according to a report released Thursday.

Between fiscal year 2008 and now, state school funding in Kansas, adjusted for inflation, decreased 16.5 percent, according to the report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think-tank.

That is the fourth largest decrease in the nation, surpassed only by Arizona, 17.2 percent; Alabama, 20.1 percent and Oklahoma, 22.8 percent.

“At a time when states and the nation are trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, this decline in state educational investment is cause for concern,” the report said.

The report found at least 34 states are providing less funding per student for the 2013-14 school year than they did before the recession hit.

The report analyzed states’ major education funding formulas and didn’t include local property tax revenue or federal funding. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has been described by some journalists as being left of center.

School finance has been front and center in the Statehouse for years and is currently the subject of a contentious lawsuit.

A three-judge panel has ruled that the Legislature has failed to live up to its constitutional duty to adequately fund public schools and ordered an increase of more than $500 million.

The case has been appealed by the state to the Kansas Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in October and is expected to rule by the end of the year.

In 2005 and 2006, the state Supreme Court ordered increases in school funding. The Legislature adopted a three-year funding plan but then started to cut those dollars when the Great Recession started under Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson.

Gov. Sam Brownback oversaw more cuts in base state aid, but when state revenues started to rebound he emphasized income tax cuts instead of restoring school funding.

Brownback has said the tax cuts will boost the economy, while his critics have said the cuts will starve government services, such as education.

Base state aid has been cut from $4,400 per student in 2008-09 to a low of $3,780 per student in 2011. It has since been increased to $3,838 per student, but remains lower than base state aid from 2001-02.

Brownback’s office responded to the report, saying that Brownback “has never cut state funding for education.

“Since his election in 2010 state funding on K-12 education has increased by more than $200 million. The reduction in base state aid per pupil that occurred in 2011 was the result of federal ARRA (stimulus) money expiring,” Brownback’s office said. The stimulus funding was intended to offset state budget cuts during the worst part of the recession.

In his calculations, Brownback includes some items, such as teacher pension payments made by the state, that aren’t figured in other calculations of school funding.

The Kansas Center for Economic Growth said lower school funding will hurt the state’s economic recovery.

“Good schools and an educated workforce foster economic growth, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot by reducing our investment in our schools and students,” said Annie McKay, the group’s executive director.

The center, which formed earlier this year, describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts research and analysis to promote balanced state policies that help ensure all Kansans prosper.

“These cuts have undermined our ability to educate Kansas’ children and there will be consequences for Kansas’ economy,” McKay said.


olddognewtrix 4 years, 8 months ago

Brownback and his cohorts could care less about funding education in Kansas

Bobby Burch 4 years, 8 months ago

What's more screwed up is Brownback's and his cronies' tireless talking points regarding the new tax plan — "We've held K-12th grade education harmless." I can't think of how many times I've read or heard that barefaced lie from Kansas lawmakers. Meanwhile, school districts are forced to turn to the only avenue they can to obtain the funding they're promised by the Kansas Constitution: litigation. So what's the next logical step for Brownback? Change the judicial appointment process so he can ensure a judge with his interests reviews the case. I'm calling it now — If Brownstain wins in 2014, he will seek to amend the Kansas Constitution to change either the appointment process to the Kansas Supreme court, or its verbiage regarding school finance. These next few years could be make or break for public education in Kansas.

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

Part of a plan by Brownie, Koch-a-Kolas and the State Legislature to dumb down Kansas Public Education. The long-term goal is diminish the quality of Public Education in order to justify the "need" for voucher provided private and church based schooling. Sad-to-say, Kansas (in the past) had one of the more enviable public school programs, but C-Street, Opus Dei thinking is now the priority.

The longer we re-elect this group of GOP Tea Baggers, the more we become like the states of similar backward ideology: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. With progressive elected State officials, we should be more like Colorado, Dakota's, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Utah, all states with advancing school systems.

parrothead8 4 years, 8 months ago

"The long-term goal is diminish the quality of Public Education in order to justify the "need" for voucher provided private and church based schooling."

While I agree with your first sentence, I think you have the long-term goal incorrect. They way I see it, they could care less if the populace is going to a public school or private/religious schools. What they want is a general dumbing down of the population so as to provide mindless employees who are simply grateful for that they will provide for little pay, long hours, sorry conditions, and poor (or no) benefits.

chootspa 4 years, 8 months ago

I think there are plenty who (mistakenly) believe that vouchers will lead to better education, because they fetishize free markets and think they have magical powers to transform everything.

Kansass 4 years, 8 months ago

Only the 4th deepest cuts???

Well, I'm sure Brownback will see this as room for improvement and cut more.

Gary Pomeroy 4 years, 8 months ago

I am sure you are mistaken - why our ilustrious (??) governor gave a speech in Chicago a few months back indicating that he had cut taxes with no reduction in educational spending, and surely he would not be mendacious in public statements . . . .

deec 4 years, 8 months ago

Cue Dave Trebek or whatever in 3...2...1...

Richard Heckler 4 years, 8 months ago

A healthy and thriving new economic growth pattern is dependent on a healthy and thriving public school system.

What Brownback is doing is no secret to the nation.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 8 months ago

All part of the right wing Brownback-Koch plan for Kansas.

The last thing politicians like Brownback and industrialists like the Kochs want is an educated populace, one that could see through the haze of misinformation and half truths that form the basis of their operations.

A win-win. A dumbed-down populace and tax cuts for the wealthy and big business. It is all going to plan.

cowboy 4 years, 8 months ago

Kansas , Winning the race to the bottom !

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 8 months ago

No, cowboy, we aren't even winning that. We're in fourth place for that particular race.

Robert Wells 4 years, 8 months ago

Swimming pools, Tennis courts, elaberate buildings..... I am not talking Beverly Hills here. I am talking Kansas schools. What a joke! No wonder the system is broke. Teachers have to supply things out of their own pockets for the students. And everybody wants to dump more money into this mess? And Yes I did go to Jr. High in a building with no a/c. I don't expect kids to do that by any means. But all the other out rageous stuff they have in schools today is just crazy. There are schools in western Kansas that are very small and could really use a roof or a coat of paint. Johnson county and Douglas county have schools that compete to see who can have the biggest money pit. Someday we will be looking at spending even more to keep them up to date.

chootspa 4 years, 8 months ago

Buildings are mainly local property taxes and bond issues, while other items come from state budgets. If you're a rural school without a large property tax base, you're relying on the whims of Brownback's budget plans.

Bobby Burch 4 years, 8 months ago

You're inability to properly spell perfectly illustrates the need for more money in our schools.

lucky_guy 4 years, 8 months ago

Tanked where have you been? Obviously you don't have a clue about school finance. If we could put that money that goes to buildings towards salaries we would. The buildings out west that need paint, that money has to come from property taxes or bond issues. Just the same a JOCO and Lawrence can have state of the art facilities but pay teachers less than McDonald's shift supervisors. If you want to b**ch about lazy kids and fancy buildings at least know where the money comes from.

oldexbeat 4 years, 8 months ago

Gee, and there are cities that even have great roads and baseball fields. Oh, and outdoor music venues. Hmmm. Called living better. Called local decisions and property tax. OK for kids to swim.

We're talking about the support for classroom teaching, not the building of new facilities. Liar Sammy made sure all the lawyer and doctor LLC stopped paying any (yes, any) state income tax, that working poor pay more and more in sales taxes, and that unaduited money is pouring out to friends of the commerce office. Lots of nepoticism. Lots of big government from Sammy.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 8 months ago

The claims made by CBPP are extraordinarily misleading. No data posted...just conclusions. Assumptions made about 2014 inflation and spending...ignoring some basic facts regarding what is considered state funding...hoping readers will forget that ARRA stimulus funds were used to backfill recession-driven declines so that districts were largely held harmless, etc.

As Paul Harvey would have said, you can read the rest of the story at

KSManimal 4 years, 8 months ago

"..hoping readers will forget that ARRA stimulus funds were used to backfill recession-driven declines ...."

Yes, they were....used to backfill recession-rationalized, unconstitutional cuts to state funding - but only to the extent necessary to avoid forfeiting those funds altogether.

And where are those ARRA stimulus funds NOW, Dave? As you know, they're gone; and the legislature shirked its duty to backfill THAT. I'm sure you just forgot to mention that little detail.

Everyone knows your tricks, Dave, so why bother posting here anymore? Oh, yeah. Because you're paid to.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 8 months ago

Total taxpayer support of public education set a new record in 2012 at $5.771 billion. KSDE estimates that 2013 was another record year at $5.816 billion or $12,738 per-pupil. Of course, those numbers do not include state and local tax dollars that were used to increase cash reserves.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

And so?

If the state isn't operating in accordance with the SC ruling, then they're not doing the right thing.

KSManimal 4 years, 8 months ago

Total dollar figures are meaningless, Dave. Tossing out total funding in comparison to BSAPP is deliberately misleading - apples to oranges, and you know it. Everyone here knows your tricks, yet here you go again....

The Kansas Constitution, as upheld by the KS Supreme Court, requires public school funding to meet the actual costs of providing such education - not on the current economy or polical gamesmanship.

The legislature's own cost studies have shown the actual cost right now to be $6,142 in BSAPP using the current funding formula.

Current statue sets BSAPP at $4,492 - only about 75% of what it should be. If that weren't bad enough, the state is currently NOT EVEN FUNDING ITS OWN STATUTORY AMOUNT.

That's right. In spite of what current law says, the legislature is currently only allocating $3,838 in BSAPP - or about 40% less than what is required by the KS Constitution and the previous Supreme Court ruling.

You simply cannot spin this one, Dave.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 8 months ago

That's what the education lobby would have you believe, but the truth is that no study has ever been conducted in Kansas to determine what it costs to achieve required outcomes AND have schools organized and operating in a cost-effective manner. The bogus A&M study used in Montoy was supposed to take efficiency into account but they deviated from their own methodology and gave the court deliberately-inflated numbers. LPA also said (page 2) that they were not asked to, nor did they attempt, to determine what it would cost to have schools organized and operating in a cost-effective manner. The constitution does not require taxpayers to give schools more than they need. Perhaps the Supreme Court will recognize that no one really knows what amount is needed to fund schools and send the Legislature back to the drawing board.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

Source for your claim about the A&M study?

And, if the legislature didn't ask for "efficient, cost effective" numbers, that's on them. The constitution requires "suitable" funding, and their studies gave them that result, which they promptly and repeatedly ignored, even after KS SC rulings on the issue.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 8 months ago

From the study itself, page V-2

"We used this previous list of inefficient districts to filter our list of 85 districts for efficiency. Fifty districts would have been considered inefficient from our successful group. Since the majority of successful districts would be considered inefficient spenders, we did not use this examination of efficiency. Excluding these districts might undermine the possibility that this higher spending is what allows districts to be successful in Kansas."

They had sufficient data points to follow their preferred methodology. They just wanted an excuse to produce higher numbers.

The legislature hired A&M to perform the study based on their prescribed methodology. A&M deviated from it, at which point the LPA committee that engaged them should have rejected their report and refused to pay until A&M had done the proposed work. But the LPA committee's failure to do its job does mean that the bogus A&M report constitutes a rational basis for constitutional funding requirements. No study has ever been conducted that includes efficient use of taxpayer money.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

That's not how I read that.

According to that, the "majority of successful districts" would have been considered "inefficient spenders", and thus excluding those would have provided incomplete and misleading data, since the more successful districts might have been more successful precisely because they spent more.

Taking 35 out of 85 successful districts doesn't give a good overall picture of them. It's fewer than half of them.

Also, I didn't see anything in your quote that said the study had to use "efficiency" as part of the methodology, or how "efficiency" was determined.

As stated above, "efficiency" isn't easy to define well, or use in a meaningful way. One person's "efficiency" is another's "starving the beast".

And, the KS SC has ruled at least twice on this issue already - the state should abide by those rulings, even if they want to re-litigate the issue ad nauseam (which, by the way, in my view isn't an efficient use of tax revenue).

chootspa 4 years, 8 months ago

Oooh, the "education lobby" with their dastardly plan to adequately fund public education in this state. Yes, why would anyone believe anything they say when we could listen to the Koch-funded libertarian think tank that wants to defund public education?

Let me sum up the rest of the arguments you're about to make, because they don't change much:

Step one, tell us that education funding is too high. When someone reports (correctly) that the state has cut education, claim it is a lie. Be sure to calculate funding to include expenses not listed in other studies and list all funding in nominal currency rather than real dollars, so inflation will make the amount seem larger.

Step two. Whine that the Montoy decision was unfair because nobody wrote up a study to your specifications. Never mind that the funding level was based the legislator's own cost study. Move the goalpost!

Step three. Start pulling out the test scores. Make as many Type I errors as possible by cherry picking the test scores and funding levels that imply a relationship that doesn't exist. Pull out the NAEP scores and point out how they haven't skyrocketed to the moon, which somehow proves that we've wasted our money raising these kids in a state that at least previously had a fantastic public school system. When it doubt, repeat the mantra that "funding doesn't matter."

KSManimal 4 years, 8 months ago

OK everyone...take note of this classic Trabert strategy:

I called him out on his bogus use of total funding as a comparison to BSAPP numbers. He ignored that. I called him out on the facts about what current funding is, what the current statutory amount is, and on what current court rulings say funding needs to be. He ignored those arguments as well.

Trabert chose instead to attack the validity of the A&M cost study, and toss out the nebulous term "efficiency"; which really has no definition and more importantly isn't the end goal.

Trabert also completely ignores the Legislative Post Audit study that reached the same conclusions as the A&M study.

Epic fail, Trabert. You can't spin this one. Go home. Oh, wait. You can't - this is your job.

JayhawkFan1985 4 years, 8 months ago

Lies are truths in traberts Orwellian worldview.

Bob Forer 4 years, 8 months ago

What an incredibly beautiful work of political art. I cannot think of a better way of demonstrating the warped evil genius of Karl Rove, than this picture. Tax breaks for the rich at the expense of public education. Unless you are a knave or a fool, the tax cuts and defunding of education hurts Kansas and hurts Kansans.
Welll, okay, that’s not entirely true. If you are wealthy, you won in spades, and what rich guy sends their kids to public schools And can you point to one right wing religious nut who doesn’t home school their kids. Rovarian Genius. Legislation that benefits no one except the very wealthy and the very stupid, the two groups who have joined forces and are now controlling our state.
Moral of the story: Politicians are like wild animals. They can incur incredible damage when they unleash their raw power, but they never eat their young.
Wake up people. This is what Kansas politics have become. It’s personal. Our government just said, screw you and screw your stupid kid, while winking at the wealthy and the religious right.

You gonna protect your kid. Or are you gonna vote the party line.

Some of my best friends are democratic, Some of my best friends are republican. But those two parties, and the warped, dangerous and out of control animal they have created, are destroying our state.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 8 months ago

Damn we didn't finish first. Being an equal in something other than football with Oklahoma and Alabama is nothing to cheer about.

lucky_guy 4 years, 8 months ago

Come on Dave T can't you quote somebody else? Someone not employed by Brownback?

Tracy Rogers 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey Dave, why don't you get your puppeteers to fund and conduct the study you speak of? I'd love to read that report. The spin you'd have to put on it to fit your perception would be some entertaining reading.

jafs 4 years, 8 months ago

You know, I was curious about the original study, so I looked it up.

The A&M study done originally was done very closely in conjunction with legislators - the design was worked out with them.

They collaborated on the definition of a "suitable" education and how to measure that - they used both "input" and "output" measures, ie. course offerings and student performance. They also used both a "professional judgement" model and a "successful schools" model to determine funding levels. The first is a process of asking professionals in the field to provide their judgement as to what's needed to achieve the desired success rate of a school - they basically ask what would be needed to build a successful school, given the criteria for success. The second looks at actual schools that are meeting that criteria.

In my reading, I did not find any evidence that the legislators asked A&M to use any sort of "efficiency" analysis - they asked them to study what was necessary in terms of funding to achieve desired outcomes, and they collaborated on how to study that, and how to measure those outcomes.

Looks like a very well considered, thoughtful study, done with lots of guidance from the state, to me. Unless there are any procedural issues with the study, ie. they didn't actually study what they were supposed to study, the state asked for and received what it wanted.

Then they ignored it.

What a waste of taxpayer resources!!

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

Sunny: Maybe your are correct, but not enough of it gets to the place where it benefits students and teachers. Lawrence USD 497 is a blatant example of a system that is bloated by administrative staff and operating expenses. Really not for cutting State support, but maybe some local clean-up might funnel more monies to actual student educational pursuits.

Bob Forer 4 years, 8 months ago

The wealthy have never cared about the taxes you and I pay. Its all about what is in it for them. Shifting the burden from income to sales and property tax shifts the burden from the middle class and poor.

The next step in their plan was eliminating the tax on businesses. The added tax revenue which was forecast to replace it was an old and tired llie, which is why the teachers unions was busted. With no new tax revenue coming in, the shortfall had toe made up somewhere, and since public education is the largest single tax burden, that is why we ffind ourselves facing the the destruction of public education. Rich kids go to private school .

Bob Forer 4 years, 8 months ago

The False Christians of the Anti-abortion movement.

God’s law is not limited to one . It is said, you shall not kill which is the basis for the prohibition against abortion. While killing is wrong, a Christian does not bear responsibility for the salvation of non-believers. Regardless of whether a non-Christian has an abortion, they will not be shown the entrance to heaven. One who has not accepted Christ has already forsaken God, and therefore passing a criminal law prohibiting one sin, will do nothing to steer that person towards Christ, so why should we as Christians require a civil law outlawing abortions. Shouldn’t ’t we be more concerned with our own salvation and the salvation of fellow Christians. If we are concerned with incurring God’s wrath, shouldn’t our man made law be structured to benefit those who have accepted him, and not worry about those who have already rejected him.

The unborn child most likely to be aborted are the children of Christians who have engaged in adultery OR fornication. If we are going to urge for the passing of criminal laws to protect god’s kingdom why is it permissible for Christians to require a criminal law against abortion but not a similar criminal statute against adultery or fornication. If such a law is in place, wouldn’t it help prevent situations swhich would lead to an unwanted children . As fornication is a likely sin preceding an abortion we in a better position to protect the unborn if there are consequences for such lustful violations. Under Catholic Church doctrine, killing a convicted murderer is no less an affront to God as is killing an unborn child. All life is equally sacred to God. Isn’t it entirely hypocritical for the Catholic Church to instruct its faithful not to vote for a politician who supports the death penalty. All of Gods law carries equal weight. Don’t we as Christians look silly and hypocritical if we engage in political debate on abortion but not on capital punishment. Either we urge criminal laws protecting all of God laws, or we stay out of it all together. If the leaders of the Catholic Church feel it appropriate for criminal sanctions against abortion, then why do they not get involved in the death penalty. And what about the Catholic churches policies on charity. A good Christian is not only one does not abort babies, but also engages in acts of charity towards our fellow human beings. A poor young girl is more likely to abort her child if she is unable to financially care for the baby. Aren’t we more likely to prevent an abortion if we also have in place laws to provide for the mother and child. Politicians who cry to outlaw abortion but side with the wealthy millionaires in cutting social programs are Christians in name only.

Bob Forer 4 years, 8 months ago

Why do Christians refer to the Republican Party as their party of God simply because they outlaw abortion one is not a good Christian simply by pointing towards one commandment. The so-called religious anti-abortion laws but oppose laws t that will feed the hungry, clothe the naked. And heal the sick. The same charlatans that profess to protect the unborn grab the lobbyist money and run and hide from their obligation to protect living children as well. By standing by silently while these fakers disgrace God by passing a law that says no, but sits silent and fails to take any affirmative action to spread God’s grace. It is not uncommon for the antiabortion so called Christian to speak in favor of a law against abortion, but in the next moment engage in godless sexual acts and otherwise show contempt to God. Christianity is a life style. God has already given us his commandments. I don’t need an opportunist politician to pass one law against an ungodly act. I want that person to show me by leading a Christian life.

Every election cycle the same “Look at me, I am a good Christian because I oppose abortibn” pocket campaign contribution checks from big corporations who only care for a profit, and not people. They lecture everyone on the sins of abortion, suggesting what Godly people they are. And then vote to cut benefits for the needy, and the elderly, shift the tax burden from income tax to sales tax which takes food out of mouths of poor children and puts money in the vacation fund of the wealthy.

Another year passes, and the fakers return and lecture us again on the evils of abortion. Once the vote on the abortion issue falls short, they put away their bibles and meet with the wealthy and privilege4d,. exchanging promises for campaign contributions. And it is all a show, for regardless of the vote, Roe vs. Wade controls. Its all a little game for her friends back home

Year after year the same dog and pony show, which results in the little checks from the Good Christians and the huge checks from the moneychangers of wallstreet.

One would think that after all these years with little movement on the issue , might be better to leave the issue to God and find other ways of passing laws consistent with God’s love. All the new babies born to single moms with little money need attention. But instead, she joins with her wealthy friends in cutting the food stamp program

Another Wolf in Sheep’s’ Clothing. A Truly Contemptible country club Christian Charlatan. May God save us all and God bless America

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