Archive for Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kansas board proposes big boost in education aid

July 8, 2014


Topeka — Kansas would phase in a substantial increase of $459 million in spending on its public schools over two years under largely symbolic proposals approved Tuesday by the State Board of Education.

Board members fashioned spending recommendations for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years with the state facing potentially lean budgets in the wake of personal income tax cuts championed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback. The board’s proposals also come as a judicial panel considers whether the state is spending enough on its schools to provide every child an adequate education.

But the board’s work was mostly a statement of its support for education. Its proposals would phase in an increase of about 13 percent in aid to public schools, starting in July 2015, and doing so would force the state to reconsider the income tax cuts, enacted by Brownback and the GOP-dominated Legislature in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy.

With state revenues reduced, the state is burning through its cash reserves to sustain spending. Brownback has argued that economic growth will cause tax collections to rebound, but Democrats believe the state will be wrestling with potential budget shortfalls well into the future. Even Brownback’s more optimistic assessment does not allow for as big a short-term boost in education funding as the board has proposed, absent other changes.

But several members said the board has a duty to advocate for public schools. The board’s proposals will go to Brownback, who’s working on his own budget recommendations to submit to lawmakers when they convene their next annual session in January.

“The finances are lean, but I think that we should ask for what we think we need to educate our children,” said board member Carolyn Campbell, a Topeka Democrat.

In the past, legislators and governors have largely ignored the board’s proposals for big spending increases. Board member John Bacon, a conservative Olathe Republican, voted against most of Tuesday’s proposals and said later that members need to consider what the state can afford.

“What’s realistic in our budget? Hopefully, increases of 2 to 3 percent,” Bacon said. “That’s what I think we should advocate for.”

Meanwhile, a three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court is reviewing parts of a lawsuit filed in 2010 by parents and school districts. While the Supreme Court resolved issues of whether money is fairly distributed — and lawmakers boosted aid to poor districts — the lower-court panel is considering whether total spending is adequate.


Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

What we have is obscene mismanagement of the taxpayers money and reckless tax cuts.

Bob Smith 3 years, 11 months ago

Little piggies always want more feed in their trough.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

Public School History

The History of Public Schools in America

Hundreds of years ago, most learning happened at home. Parents taught their children or, if their families could afford it, private tutors did the job. The Puritans were the first in this country to point out the need for some kind of public education. They established schools to teach not just the essentials-reading, writing and math- but also to reinforce their core values.

After the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson argued that the newly independent nation needed an educational system, and he suggested that tax dollars be used to fund it. His pleas were ignored, however, and the idea for a public school system languished for nearly a century.

By the 1840s, a few public schools had popped up around the country in the communities that could afford them. However, that smattering of schools wasn't good enough for education crusaders Horace Mann of Massachusetts and Henry Barnard of Connecticut. They began calling for free, compulsory school for every child in the nation.

Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school laws in 1852. New York followed the next year, and by 1918, all American children were required to attend at least elementary school.

Next came the movement to create equal schooling for all American children, no matter what their race. At the turn of the 20th century, schools in the South, and many in the North, were segregated. The 1896 Supreme Court ruling, Plessy v. Ferguson upheld the legality of segregation. Finally, in 1954, the Supreme Court overturned its ruling with the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, and public schools became open to people of all races.

I say the public school model is excellent and has prepared millions upon millions for college or community college or Vo-Tech. = Damn good tax dollar investment since 1820.

Vocational education is first funded when the Smith-Hughes Act passes in 1917.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 11 months ago

Our founding fathers wanted to insure Democracy for our country. Benjamin Franklin created the public library, the purpose being no citizen will be secluded from public knowledge. He also was a founder of the public school, the purpose being no citizen will be without a basic education.

Claiming public schools are failing is without foundation. There is no hard evidence in fact only political rhetoric.

The fiscally reckless conservatives have taught most all school districts that cutting funding will not improve the prospects for students. In fact we are leaning how detrimental reckless budget cuts damage a school district.

For certain these budget cuts have NOT improved the numbers of high school graduates.

25 years of cutting budgets to public education demonstrate a documented monumental failure to meet the demands of school district communities and their students.

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