False claims on Kansas school funding

Dave TrabertEducation

Fair warning to Kansans: beware of false claims on Kansas school funding.  Anyone saying the Supreme Court ruling says taxpayers must increase school funding by any amount is either repeating bad information they’ve been given or is consciously making a false claim.

Former state budget director Duane Goossen, who now works for Kansas Action for Children, says “Now that the school finance ruling is upon us, lawmakers must restore $500-$800 million to schools…”

Kansas Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Dale Dennis told legislators that one showed $700 million in additional spending may be needed.  In the same Topeka Capital-Journal story, taxpayer-funded school lawyer Alan Rupe “placed the amount needed at $800 million or more.”

Dale Dennis and Alan Rupe may only be guilty of lobbying for what they want but Duane Goosen is consciously making a false statement.  The Supreme Court did not order any particular funding level and unless based on a brand new formula, any claims about the amount needed are merely wishful thinking.

The March 2, 2017 decision reaffirmed that adequacy is met when funding is reasonably calculated to allow students to meet the Rose standards.  The Court has also stated that there was no basis for the funding allocations in the old formula, and outcomes weren’t even a consideration.  Therefore, estimating additional spending on the old formula is meaningless.

And don’t be fooled by statements that the Court once found the old formula to be constitutional; that finding was prior to March 2014, at which time the test for adequacy changed.  People once believed the world to be flat, but now we know better.  The Court knows better because they finally understood that the Montoy ruling was based on a deliberately-inflated cost study.  Augenblick & Myers was supposed to base their findings on the districts that were both efficient and academically successful but they admittedly ignored the efficiency part of their methodology.

So if anyone tries to tell you the Court says funding must be increased by any amount, ask them to show you that in the decision.  It’s not there.

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