Kansas Ranked 6th for State School Funding

Dave TrabertEducationLeave a Comment

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Kansas had the 6th highest share of school funding provided by state government in 2015.  State school funding comprised 66 percent of total funding in Kansas, while the national average for state school funding was 47 percent.  The national average for local taxpayer support was 45 percent but Kansas local taxpayers only … Read More

School Cash Reserves Hit $203 Billion

Dave TrabertEducationLeave a Comment

U.S. Census data just released shows school cash reserves for 45 states set a new record in 2015 at $203 billion, up from $188 billion in 2014.  Alaska, Hawaii, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia are not included in the totals because Census says their schools districts’ holdings cannot be separated from the assets of their parent … Read More

Media Ignores Facts, Excuses University Tuition Hikes

Dave TrabertEducation1 Comment

The annual ritual of universities making sad-faced announcements of tuition increases and blaming them on state funding cuts took place last week. And in keeping with tradition, media abandoned basic journalistic principles and basically functioned as the Regent’s press office. Media didn’t question whether university tuition increases could be partially or fully avoided (they can) or attempt to put anything … Read More

The new school funding formula (SB 19) ensures another lawsuit

David DorseyEducationLeave a Comment

More than a decade ago the Kansas Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of injecting itself into the legislative process, ordering the Legislature to cough up an additional $853 million per year to fund K-12 education in its landmark Montoy decision. The Legislature caved, allowing the Court to usurp the constitutional authority of the power of the purse from that … Read More

New school finance law will do nothing to improve outcomes of at-risk students

David DorseyEducationLeave a Comment

The Legislature blew it. Given a golden opportunity to give serious attention to the issue of low performance and the huge achievement gaps of Kansas at-risk students, the Legislature instead chose to appease the Supreme Court through an increase in funding. The new school finance law – SB 19 – is full of language aimed at improving educational outcomes of … Read More

$1.6 Billion Pension Payouts; Over 2,000 KPERS ‘Millionaires’

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & SpendingLeave a Comment

An Open Records request fulfilled by the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) shows record-setting payouts in 2016 of $1.6 billion.   The number of KPERS ‘millionaires’ also set a new record, with 2,007 government retirees expected to receive more than $1 million in pension benefits over their first 20 years of retirement.  Pensions are paid over the lifespan of each … Read More

New School Funding Formula is Bad for Students and Citizens

Dave TrabertEducationLeave a Comment

The new school funding formula on its way to the Governor’s desk could have been a lot worse if the education lobby got all it wanted, but it’s still bad legislation for students and citizens.  The funding is much higher than necessary, causing citizens to be excessively taxed, and most important, schools are not held accountable for improving outcomes. The … Read More

Education funding bill overspends, fails to hold schools accountable

David DorseyEducationLeave a Comment

The new K-12 education bill passed by the Kansas Legislature and sent to Governor Brownback for signature fails to hold schools accountable for improving student achievement and by failing to correct a math error, overspends by hundreds of millions going forward. Instead the law focuses on satisfying a fickle Supreme Court. The law – SB 19 – is not “reasonably … Read More

U.S. Supreme Court decision could reduce the Blaine amendment effect

David DorseyEducation

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments last month in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Pauley, a Columbia, Missouri case that has the potential to significantly change the application of church/state separation, including the funding of education. In this case, the church wanted to replace its pre-school playground with recycled tire rubber from the state of Missouri. The … Read More

$11 Billion School Debt Exceeds State Debt

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

Given media and legislative hyperventilation over state debt levels, one would never know that Kansas’ 286 school districts are deeper in hock than the State of Kansas and its component units (universities, turnpike authority, etc.).  School districts set a new record last year of $5.56 billion in bonded indebtedness and they also have $5.4 billion in unfunded pension liability, putting … Read More