Schools Defend Massive Income Tax Hike

Dave TrabertEducation

As Kansans collect smaller paychecks this month because of the massive income tax hike passed by the Legislature, school districts’ lobbying arm is defending it as an ‘investment.’  The Kansas Association of School Boards recently said the tax increase “…has been defended by many as necessary to stabilize the budget and comply with a Supreme Court decision on school funding.” … Read More

Legislators Don’t Like Being Called Out for State Spending Hike

Dave TrabertTax & Spending

Governor Brownback’s statement on state spending at the close of the 2017 legislative session has leadership in both chambers up in arms.  ““This legislative session made history, but for all the wrong reasons. Passing the largest tax hike in state history, this legislature passed the biggest budget in state history—and they’ve already spent every dime.  The legislature—despite borrowing and delaying … Read More

Kansas Schools Petulantly Demand $972 Million More

Dave TrabertEducation

Like students attempting to explain away a bad grade, school districts’ taxpayer-funded lawyers bombarded the State Supreme Court with a litany of excuses and rationalizations to justify their demand for another $972 million over the next two years.  Their June 30 brief to the Court says the Legislature’s increase of $195 million in the coming school year should be pushed … Read More

Kansas Ranked 6th for State School Funding

Dave TrabertEducation

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 TrabertEducation

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

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

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

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 TrabertEducation

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

79 Districts Lost Students, Added Staff

Dave TrabertEducation

You’d never know it from media reports or listening to the education lobby in Topeka, but 79 districts that lost students this year actually increased employment!  And perhaps the greatest complainer of them all – Kansas City – added more employees than students. The adjacent table includes some of the more eye-opening disparities.  Hutchinson (one of the districts diverting money … Read More

Dedicating Income Tax to Schools is Just Pandering; There’s Also a Downside

Dave TrabertEducation, Tax & Spending

Dedicating income tax collections to school funding is the latest “Here, hold my beer” notion to come out of the Kansas Legislature this session, proving once again Thomas Sowell’s take on politics.  He said, “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems … Read More

School Debt Sets New Record at $5.56 Billion

Dave TrabertEducation

Kansas school bond debt set another record for the 2015-16 school year at $5.56 billion spread across 183 districts.  Data provided by the Kansas Department of Education shows school districts loaded up on a lot of new debt since 2005: $5.2 billion in new bond debt was issued by 149 districts. Debt Service payments totaled $4.9 billion. Bonded indebtedness increased $2.4 billion … Read More