Until recently, the facts about education spending in Kansas weren’t well known. For example, taxpayers are surprised to learn that total per-pupil spending on Kansas K-12 students averaged $12,225 in FY2010. The powerful education lobby never acknowledges this; rather, it focuses on only a portion of the total that is contributed by state taxpayers. The rest comes from local and federal taxpayers, and each district plans budgets with the total funding.
In the 2012 legislative session, we’ll be dealing with facts like these. We’ll also be dealing with the threat of federal mandates which will strip local parents and teachers of the ability to improve education as they see fit. And we’ll demand accountability in all areas — including the better use of existing and unused funds in district budgets.
In May 2011, the legislature considered these facts from the Kansas Board of Education and the U.S. Dept. of Education:
The library of topics below present a good look at the real facts of education in Kansas, making clear that reform is sorely needed. I invite you to study these facts and understand the big picture of school funding in Kansas. You can keep informed about legislative developments with my legislative updates here. >>
It’s time we turned this bus around.
School spending and achievement are headed in the wrong direction.
Taxpayers should know that 53% of the Kansas state budget is spent on K-12 education, and over the past 5 years, per-pupil spending in Kansas has increased a whopping 26%. The single biggest expenditure in our state deserves plenty of scrutiny — especially because many school districts in Kansas aren’t demonstrating accountability, achievement gains and reductions in the dropout rate. MORE >>
The A-B-Cs of School Funding in Kansas
The facts taxpayers deserve to know.
Despite adding 5,467 positions and billions in additional spending during the past 5 years, school districts in Kansas were unable to demonstrate marked improvements in academic performance. Yet the powerful school lobby convinced enough legislators to support a 20% sales tax increase to support school boards and students with no guaranteed success or even graduation rates. MORE >>
Student achievement in Kansas has not improved significantly in the past
5 years, despite a 26% increase in total aid per pupil.
In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Education’s review of Kansas school performance found that, “there is no evidence that the state’s school funding formula (for which the Kansas courts mandated huge additional spending)...was related to, or resulted in increasing student achievement or graduation rates, narrowed achievement gaps or resulted in other important outcomes.” Kansas’ average SAT scores have dropped, and the federal report found that only 26% of Kansas high school students that take the ACT test are ready for college coursework. See the reports here. MORE >>
School Funding Solutions To Consider
A whopping 53% of Kansas tax dollars this year will fund schools that have not met basic national standards of academic achievement in the last 5 years. Last school year, an $700 unused funds will sit by the wayside instead of being directed toward the classrooms. Of the 293 school districts in the state, only 10 performed efficiency audits to decrease their spending. Explore these potential solutions to get Kansas K-12 education back on track. MORE >>
Where Kansas Education is Headed.
Legislature hears report from state commission.
President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform legislation was created in place of the No Child Left Behind Act that has articulated requirements of achievement in schools and students across the nation. The Obama Administration has set standards for more bureaucracies that take us further away from helping teachers and students achieve. Learn why many states are opting-out of federal mandates, choosing instead to give parents, teachers and taxpayers more control. MORE >>
New federal mandates are the biggest issue in education.
Federal intervention in Kansas schools is already here.
The Kansas State Board of Education continually pressures the Kansas legislators to increase state taxes and devote more revenue to fund K-12 education. Yet student achievement is lagging -- Kansas’ average SAT scores have dropped, while neighboring Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa outpaced Kansas by two or three times. Now there’s an even bigger issue at hand – the Obama Administration wants to centralize control of schools with federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., rather than with parents and teachers in local schools. Read this Sept. 2010 editorial from Rep. Donohoe. MORE >