Dave_Trabert (Dave Trabert)


Comment history

Editorial: LOB lifeline

Not spinning anything...just citing numbers provided by KSDE last week to the education committees. I was in the hearing and testifying beside Dale Dennis. I explained that the numbers showed that, contrary to claims by one representative, schools didn't lose money...they only lost the opportunity to collect more money. The representative finally agreed with me. But more important, Dale Dennis did not disagree with me.

Moody's said having to spend $129 million more was the basis for their decision.

March 16, 2014 at 6:09 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: LOB lifeline

I agree that the Legislature should fund the LOB equalization and believe they should do by reallocating money from non-K-12 sources as outlined in my own commentary.

It should noted that the inequity in LOB funding resulted from allowing districts to calculate their LOB on a higher amount of funding than they actually received. It is this 'phantom' piece that wasn't equalized. Districts didn't lose money...they lost an opportunity to collect more money. In fact, equalization aid increased from $323 million in 2009 to $339 million last year.

March 16, 2014 at 9:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Davis still exaggerating teacher layoff claims

The WYTV turnaround resulted from stopping a multi-year downward trend in revenue and having consistent revenue gains. Employment increased while I was at WYTV. Those layoffs were implemented by the new owner who combined the operation of WYTV with another station they owned in the market. At KAKE, the better financial condition came from moving from #3 to #1 in local and regional revenue in the market. The entire group was sold shortly thereafter and the new owner decided they wanted their own people in management positions at many of the stations, which is rather common in television.

But most important, you still have found no factual inaccuracies in the information I shared, despite giving you the link to the raw data. Your ad hominem attacks may play well in certain circles but they do nothing to solve problems.

March 14, 2014 at 10:16 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Davis still exaggerating teacher layoff claims

Of course not. Stinktanks is a shameless piece of propaganda that is the epitome of ad hominem attacks. The TV stations that I managed were all in far better financial shape that before I assumed responsibility for them. All but one had very strong profits. One of them was losing a lot of money when I was brought in to turn it around; we got it fixed so the owner could sell it at a good profit.

Yes, I understand communications but I also have a background in accounting, budgeting and financial management.

March 13, 2014 at 8:25 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Davis still exaggerating teacher layoff claims

Ad hominem attacks and false accusations are no substitute for a civil discussion of the facts. Should I take it from your response that you find no factual errors in the information I shared?

March 13, 2014 at 2:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Davis still exaggerating teacher layoff claims

Actually, we're very pleased with the court decision. The court did not say that more money must be put into the system; the legislature must deal with the two equity issues but the court clearly said that spending more money is just one way to resolve them. Changing adequacy from the "actual cost" basis to providing the minimum required to meet the Rose standards is a huge victory for students and citizens. Now the primary focus will be on outcomes rather than money. Money still matters, of course, but it's not the determining factor.

You can read my commentary on the court decision at

On the original matter of employment, here's a little historical perspective. Between 1993 (the first year of the current school formula) and 2014, enrollment increased 6%, teachers increased 17% and non-teachers increased 42%. Since 2005, enrollment increased 4%, teachers increased 6% and non-teachers increased 12%. These facts and a lot more will be in our 2014 Public Education Fact Book that should be out next week.

March 13, 2014 at 5:51 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Davis still exaggerating teacher layoff claims

Mr. Davis' comments are not even close to being accurate. The staffing report referenced in that story makes that very clear. The staffing report in the story is tracking the reasons given for departure; this KSDE data comes from their total staffing reports. Reductions in force could be for budgetary reasons but they can also be caused by enrollment changes; a district may need fewer teachers in one grade but more in others. Tracking total staffing accounts for such changes and shows even greater distortions from the picture painted by Mr. Davis.

FY 2009 total teachers = 35,438.0
FY 2010 total teachers = 34,996.7
FY 2011 total teachers = 34,331.5
FY 2012 total teachers = 34,074.8
FY 2013 total teachers = 34,389.9
FY 2014 total teachers = 34,772.8

Using the reporter's time frames, there were 1,106.5 teachers lost in FY 2010 and FY 2011. Since then, 441.3 teachers have been added. In fact, the number of teachers increased in 2013 and in 2014.

A similar pattern exists for non-teachers.

FY 2009 total non-teachers = 34.971.4
FY 2010 total non-teachers = 34,850.4
FY 2011 total non-teachers = 33,854.2
FY 2012 total non-teachers = 33,785.2
FY 2013 total non-teachers = 34,169.9
FY 2014 total non-teachers = 34,776.1

There were 1,117.2 non-teachers lost in FY 2010 and FY 2011 but districts have since added 911.9. All numbers represent full time equivalents.

KSDE personnel reports can be found at

By the way, while districts reduced total employment by 2,223.7 in FY 2010 and FY 2011, they also used $169.1 million of state and local tax dollars to increase their carryover cash reserves in their operating funds.

March 12, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Court ruling may be political success, but educational failure

It's not surprising that Peter Hancock thinks money is how one should measure education standards; it's representative of the notion that has dominated education policy in Kansas wherein institutional wants take priority over student needs.

The Supreme Court said that outcomes matter more than money. Funding is certainly important but learning is how adequacy should be measured. It's quite noteworthy that Mr. Hancock thinks giving higher priority to learning equates to lowering standards.

In adopting the Rose standards as the official minimum required to meet adequacy, the Court noted that those standards are already very nearly in statute. They simply said the state already has student-focused standards and outcomes matter more than inputs.

It's high time that this notion of more money being the litmus test for support of education and other services be set aside. "Show how much you support X by spending more on it" is no way to run a government - or meet citizens' needs.

March 11, 2014 at 6:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Link between school funding, performance debated

But the constitution doesn't prohibit 'efficient' so 'suitable' may take 'efficient' into account. No one ever took efficient into account. They should do so and fund schools accordingly.

February 10, 2014 at 2:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Link between school funding, performance debated

But neither the Supreme Court in Montoy or the district court in Gannon based their rulings on what schools need when operating efficiently. No such analysis has ever been conducted in Kansas. No one - not a single legislator, superintendent, policy analyst and certainly no judge - knows what schools need to operate in a cost-effective manner.

Spending is at a record-high according to KSDE. You will note, however, that our chart shows both nominal and real spending. We're not hiding anything. In fact, our chart also adds in KPERS money for the years prior to 2005 when it was not included in the reported totals.

Now, to your claim that KPERS be the reason that funding has increased - that's also not correct. Even if every dollar of KPERS is removed from our chart, there is still a 27% real spending increase (versus 31% including KPERS). Further, the legislature's total provision for finance (everything provided on state authority, including the parts that don't run through the state budget) has increased each of the last three years even with KPERS excluded.

February 10, 2014 at 12:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )