Archive for Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kansas education cuts among largest in the nation

October 18, 2014

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— Direct state funding for public schools in Kansas is still nearly 15 percent less than it was before the start of the Great Recession, according to a report from the Center for Budget Policies and Priorities, a Washington think tank.

That makes Kansas one of 30 states where K-12 education funding still has not fully recovered, and it ranks fifth in the nation in terms of the percentage size of the cuts out of the 47 states examined.

Measured in inflation-adjusted dollars, the report said per-pupil spending in Kansas is $861 less than it was in 2008, the fourth-largest cut in the nation.

Those cuts, the center said, have slowed those states' economic recovery because school districts, which are major employers in many communities, have not been able to rehire staff who were laid off. The cuts also undermine educational reforms, including new educational standards and new testing systems, that Kansas and other states are trying to implement, the center said.

“At a time when producing workers with high-level technical and analytical skills is increasingly important to a country’s prosperity, large cuts in funding for basic education threaten to undermine the nation’s economic future,” CBPC said in its report.

The Kansas Association of School Boards said those findings echo concerns that it and other school advocates have been raising, and will likely fuel the debate over the tax cuts enacted by Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature.

“If we are falling behind other states in school funding, we must be deeply concerned about falling behind in preparing students for success in postsecondary education and the workforce,” said KASB lobbyist Mark Tallman.

The CBPP analysis looked at “funding distributed through states’ major education funding formulas” and adjusted the figures for inflation. That excludes state funding for capital expenses, bond and interest payments or employee retirement accounts.

The issue of education cuts has been a major bone of contention between Gov. Sam Brownback, who claims that “total” education spending has increased each year of his administration, and his Democratic challenger Paul Davis, who accuses Brownback of making “the largest single cuts to school funding in state history.”

“Kansans don’t need a Washington D.C.-based liberal think tank distorting the truth about education funding in Kansas. They can hear the truth straight from Kansans,” Brownback's press secretary Eileen Hawley said.

Brownback's claim is based on the total spending figures, which include the state's contributions to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System on behalf of school employees. Davis' claim is based on base state aid to public schools, which makes up each local district's general fund that pays for daily operating expenses.

Kansas began cutting budgets in 2008, under then-Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, when state revenues began to plummet following the collapse of the financial industry and national housing market that fall. They continued in 2009 after Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, took office.

Early in 2009, though, Congress passed a stimulus bill which, among other things, gave financial assistance to state governments to shore up their budgets and prevent them from having to cut programs, particularly in education and Medicaid.

But that money was intended to be only temporary. Congress began phasing out the aid in 2011 and 2012 as the economy improved, expecting states to replace that money as their own revenues recovered.

In Kansas, though, the Brownback administration chose not to replace the federal education aid and, instead, to push for massive income tax cuts that he said would stimulate the economy even more.

The base aid formula was allowed to fall to $3,780 per-pupil in fiscal year 2012. Funding has grown slightly since then and is now set at $3,856.

The Legislature's nonpartisan Research Department now says that because of the tax cuts, the state will likely face a $238 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2016, which begins next summer.

Comments

Steve King 2 years, 6 months ago

But today's editorial said Brownback was a friend of education and our best choice. Confusing no?

Renee Patrick 2 years, 6 months ago

It's just an opinion, not necessarily a fact, when you read an Op Ed piece.

Philipp Wannemaker 2 years, 6 months ago

And if you read it in Dolph's Saturday column the facts and his opinion are never the same.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 6 months ago

It really gets frustrating talking to people who form their opinions on falsehoods. When you present them with the facts, they say "I have a right to my opinion." I have changed my opinions when I'm presented with facts, but, especially tea party types, just can't do it.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

And next we'll have a sponsored post from our favorite Koch spinner telling us how down is up and black is white and the budget actually increased by huge amounts if you start from 2005 (when the budget was constitutionally underfunded) and include pension backfill, and don't correct for inflation.

Steve Jacob 2 years, 6 months ago

I think the truth is in the middle. Under Brownback the teachers got a better funded retirement plan at the price of less money per student.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

It's also worth mentioning that this happened before the moderates were kicked out, and the plan currently being touted by Brownback's former budget director calls for turning the pensions into 401ks.

David Reber 2 years, 6 months ago

Nobody got a BETTER plan. But, the state has been convinced to actually pay their obligation into the system after decade(s) of neglecting this duty. This decision likely had something to do with the state being on the hook for securities fraud.

Some people like to take credit for "funding" things that they really didn't choose to fund but rather were forced to fund by court orders and such.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes. Like Brownback, when the courts forced him to revisit court funding levels.

Bob Reinsch 2 years, 6 months ago

Once again, what part of the funding was in response to court orders after the state lost law suits? Sam is a deadbeat dad going to court, writing a check, then bragging about how he's taking care of his kids.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 2 years, 6 months ago

Wow! Sounds like the Center for Budget Policies and Priorities, a Washington "Think Tank", is basically saying information Provided by the Kansas Policy Institute, a Kansas "Think Tank", is inaccurate at best, a bold faced lie, at worst. Hmmm! Calling Dave Trabert........ Dave Trabert? Must be a little early for a Sunday to get his talking points from his bosses. Are there any "Think Tanks" that agree with KPI or are most of them in agreement with The CDPP? Folks, better grab the hand rails! Can't wait to hear the spin they put on this!

Andy Anderson 2 years, 6 months ago

Where's the return on investment? Why should Kansas invest more money if there is no return on investment?

WASHINGTON — The United States spends more than other developed nations on its students' education each year, with parents and private foundations picking up more of the costs than in the past, an international survey released Tuesday found.

Despite the spending, U.S. students still trail their rivals on international tests.

Spending, of course, only tells part of the story and does not guarantee students' success. The United States routinely trails its rival countries in performances on international exams despite being among the heaviest spenders on education.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/oecd-education-report_n_3496875.html

Michael Shaw 2 years, 6 months ago

I recommend the entire Huffington Post article. Note the average U.S. teacher salary and average per student outlay. Both are higher than the Kansas figures. There are other facts given here that are of interest. In particular, U.S. spending on education has gone down one per cent. Most countries are spending more. Kansas leads the way..

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

The return on the investment is an educated blue and white collar workforce which is a healthy return.

There are a lot of smoke screens leading the charge to confuse Kansans regarding spending on public education. The bottom line is Sam Brownback is leading the charge to defund and dismantle public education...... no matter how much misinformation he must put up to achieve the ALEC goal.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

It is the ALEC propaganda machine painting public education as this evil broke down system. Voters DON"T get duped again.

How is it that lawmakers can be lawbreakers and decide NOT to fund public education according to the State Constitution?

The primary objective is to cripple public education through defunding public education.

Then the profiteers have their "politicians" telling taxpayers the public education system is broke and is not working.

Why would taxpayers believe the politicians that don't know how to manage budgets or our tax dollars?

These politicians are working for the ALEC Right Wing Party. The ALEC RIght Wing Party wants public education tax dollars in the bank accounts of private industry in the name of large guaranteed profits.

It is the ALEC propaganda machine painting public education as this evil broke down system. Voters DON"T get duped again.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

The only problem with public education in the USA is the ALEC Right Wing Party posing as the GOP. They are trying to get their grubby hands on one of the most successful tax dollar supported programs again in the name of large guaranteed profits.

Again It is the ALEC/Brownback propaganda machine painting public education as this evil broke down system. Voters DON"T get duped again.

ALEC EXPOSED http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

ALEC Private Schools - Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/02-9

Knowing more about the enemies to public education, the working class and our communities is important

Coordinated efforts to introduce model legislation aimed at defunding and dismantling public schools is the signature work of this conservative organization.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/01/kappan_underwood.html

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Other nations have increased teachers' salaries more quickly than the United States, which has been confronting tighter budgets as a result of the economic recession.

Teachers' salaries increased between 17 percent and 20 percent between 2000 and 2011 in the nations where salaries were tracked; in the United States, that increase was just 3 percent.

"Teachers' salaries represent the largest single cost in formal education and have a direct impact on the attractiveness of the teaching profession," the report states.

"Since compensation and working conditions are important for attracting, developing and retaining skilled and high-quality teachers, policy makers should carefully consider teachers' salaries as they try to ensure both quality teaching and sustainable education budgets."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/oecd-education-report_n_3496875.html

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Taxpayers want more tax dollars spent on public education because it brings our tax dollars home….. which are spent in many many many local economies.

Dismantling and Defunding Kansas Public Schools http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-van-roekel/exposing-alecs-agenda-to-_b_3223651.html

Public education has for decades and decades been one of the government success stories in reality a best bang for the tax buck.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on USD 497 students,

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on local economies.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on the real estate industry and home sales.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on property values after the economy goes down the tubes one more time at the direction of the GOP one more time.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on home loan bankruptcy activity.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on car sales.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on local sales taxes.

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on local carpenters,plumbers,painters,landscape maintenance crews

Thousands of public school teachers throughout Kansas could receive pink slips. Think what impact that would have on the overall quality of life in the state of Kansas thanks to the GOP one more time.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Vote the Paul Davis/Jill Docking ticket they are going to have a messy house to clean up. * http://davisforkansas.com/sections/page/about

http://davisforkansas.com/sections/page/5398670405a6b38ace00006b

--- http://womenforkansas.org/resources/davis-docking/

Support Paul Davis & Jill Docking

Support Jean Schodorf

Support Greg Orman

Support Dennis Anderson

Support Jim Sherow

Support Margie Wakefield

Support Kelly Kultala

Support Perry Schuckman

--- http://womenforkansas.org/resources/davis-docking/

Kansas needs Margie Wakefield in Congress http://wakefieldforkansas.com/about-margie

Vote Jean Schodorf for Secretary of State http://www.jeanforkansas.com

Kathleen Ammel 2 years, 6 months ago

""Kansas began cutting budgets in 2008, under then-Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, when state revenues began to plummet following the collapse of the financial industry and national housing market that fall. They continued in 2009 after Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, took office."

Brownback did not become governor until January 2011 (also, note that Sebelius, and not Parkinson, was governor in 2008).

But...anything to push your agenda, Peter.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 6 months ago

Kathlene, please note that, though educational funding decreased slightly in the prior administration, that administration did NOT cut state income to making it impossible to return to previous funding levels when the state economy did (if it ever does) return to a semblance of normalcy.

Looks kind of like "responsibility in government spending" was the theme then. The difference now is that this administration has no thought of returning to responsible state spending but irresponsible sloughing off of state funding to those least able to pay for it.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

So you're going to complain when he quotes KPI too, right?

Philipp Wannemaker 2 years, 6 months ago

Richard, sure wish the JW had an ignore button so I could follow any forum thread without seeing your constant, repeated links. Any more I simply tend to skip LJ forum threads completely, like right now. I'm logging off and may or may not return tomorrow. Actually I like to read most comments, but your continual spamming is extremely annoying and destroys any points you are attempting to make.

Andy Anderson 2 years, 6 months ago

He probably gets compensated for campaigning. He is relentless.

Steve King 2 years, 6 months ago

Yes Kathleen the cuts started during the recession but when things got better Brownback kept cutting.

Sam Crow 2 years, 6 months ago

What is the Center for Budget Policies and Priorities?

These are examples of the group:

Directors:

• Robert Greenstein- appointed by President Clinton in 1994 to serve on the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform and headed the federal budget policy component of the transition team for President Obama

• T. Scott Bunton- Director of the Senate Democratic leadership committee’s professional staff, senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Byrd (D-WV), Chief of Staff to Senator Wirth (D-CO), and Director of Legislation and Policy for Senator Kerry (D-MA).

Some executive staff members:

• Jared Bernstein- Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden,

• Sharon Parrott- served as Secretary Sebelius’ Counselor for Human Services Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from August 2009 until November 2012.

• Joel Friedman- six years as the Deputy Democratic Staff Director at the Senate Budget Committee,

• Chuck Marr-was Economic Policy Advisor to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Board includes:

• Jano Cabrera - former Communication Director, Democratic Party;

• Henry Jacob Aaron- nominated by President Obama to be Chairman of the Social Security Advisory Board

• Frank Mankiewicz -former Press Secretary to Robert Kennedy

• Melanne Verveer- served as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton (1993-96) and then as Assistant to the President Clinton (1997-2000).

Come on Hancock.. If you are going to simply use a press release for a story, why not identify what political philosophy a think tank has as you reference it?

Jim Slade 2 years, 6 months ago

A case of "when you can't refute the facts, attack the messenger"?

Steve King 2 years, 6 months ago

Fact is per pupil spending is down. That's the Fact Jack.

The rest is spin and hot air from both sides.

And the State is going broke. Because of excessive revenue cuts.

Kathleen Ammel 2 years, 6 months ago

Average spending per pupil in Kansas: 2005-06 $10,596 2006-07 $11,558 2007-08 $12,188 2008-09 $12,660 2009-10 $12,330 2010-11 $12,283 <-- Parkinson governor when 2011 fiscal year budget set 2011-12 $12,656 <-- Brownback took office in Jan 2011 2012-13 $12,781 2013-14 $12,960 2014-15 $13,269 (est.) Source: Kansas Legislative Research http://www.kslegresearch.org/Publications/Education_Resources/2005-2015_USD-Funding.pdf

Huh...the numbers keep getting bigger since Jan 2011.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

Huh. And the total STATE aid number for 2013 (last year that isn't an estimate) is LOWER than the amount spent in 2008. You know, before the Great Recession. Like the article just said.

Kathleen Ammel 2 years, 6 months ago

Huh. And yet total state spending per student has continued to go up and is higher in 2013 than in 2008. As a taxpayer, I have one wallet (which also isn't as big as it was before the "Great Recession"). When the Kansas government raids my wallet, I don't care if you call it base state aid or LOB or bonds or whatever...it's still raiding my wallet.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

No, it hasn't. Total state spending has not gone up. Total spending from all sources has, but not when you correct for inflation (which isn't shown on this chart).

Your tax bill doesn't go up with changes in federal spending - it goes up with changes in federal taxing. You should care about where your tax dollars go and to whom. It's part of being an educated citizen.

Kathleen Ammel 2 years, 6 months ago

Total spending when adjusted for inflation has essentially remained flat. Federal spending requires dollars from somewhere...it either is created out of thin air (hence the inflation which is essentially a hidden tax on everyone) and is accompanied by national debt or it comes directly out of the taxpayers pockets. That's why I also care about the AMOUNT of my dollars (the value of my time and labor) that are taken from me in the form of taxes and given to someone else, somewhere else, for purposes that I may not agree are the best use. It's part of being an informed citizen.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

In other words, it has not gone up. You were wrong. The article was accurate. You've conceded the point. The rest is just your attempt at goalpost moving. Your tax bill did not go up to pay for federal aid. The Kansas government did not "raid your wallet" for federal money, and inflation is pretty low right now, so stop with the hyperbole already.

Jim Slade 2 years, 6 months ago

Now deduct the KPERS (that's for retirements, not for education) and the extra FEDERAL dollars and look just at the STATE base aid (the dollar amount the state spends on actual education) and you'll see that number has gone down.

Andy Anderson 2 years, 6 months ago

Where's the fact that more money means smarter children.

Jim Slade 2 years, 6 months ago

Who do you think gets a better education a child in a classroom of 10 students where they get a lot of one on one time with the teacher, or a child in a classroom of 25 students who doesn't get any one on one time with a teacher?

It's common sense that more individual instruction leads to better educated students. And when you cut funding you cut positions and when you cut positions your classroom size increases, which in turn leads to less one on one time for the students and thusly a lower quality of education.

James Howlette 2 years, 6 months ago

Ah yes, that old simplistic argument. It's not money. It's the things you can buy with money that make a difference. Teachers aren't volunteers.

Steve King 2 years, 6 months ago

From the Kansas City Star:

"Brownback says he has put “a record amount of money into education.” But his numbers are inflated by increases to teacher pension funds and capital projects. The money school districts use to pay employees, purchase supplies and meet other day-to-day expenses is $548 less on a per-student basis than it was six years ago.

Brownback is not a friend of public education. He has railed against judges who ordered the state to finance schools more adequately. He crafted outlandish tax cuts instead of making up the shortfall in school funding left by the recession. His allies at the Kansas Policymakers Institute have proposed even more cuts to schools and colleges as a way to balance the budget in upcoming years."

PERS contrabuiton is up. Capital Outlays are up. Per Pupil spending is down.

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