Archive for Friday, January 14, 2011

Democrats criticize Brownback’s proposed cuts to schools

January 14, 2011

Topeka — Democratic leaders in the Legislature on Friday criticized Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal to cut base state aid per pupil back to levels last seen in the 1990s.

They said the Legislature should try to repeal some tax exemptions and loopholes to find additional funds for schools.

"To me, funding schools is the absolute most important thing that we can do," House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said.

The proposed cuts will result in teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and local property tax increases, educators and legislators have said.

But Republicans rose to defend Brownback, a Republican who introduced his first state budget proposal Thursday.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the governor was showing leadership in tough economic times.

The recent recession will cause state government to re-set, and result in several more years of cuts, O'Neal said. "We are just going to have to bite the bullet," he said.

Brownback's plan would reduce base state aid per pupil from $4,012 to $3,780 over the rest of the current school year and the next school year. That would be the lowest base state aid per student level since the 1999-2000 school year.

Brownback said his proposals were necessary to balance the budget without a tax increase and to help bridge an estimated $550 million revenue shortfall.

And his staff said total school funding would actually increase $129 million under his budget, but that figure includes funds to cover obligations for retirement, special education and debt payments on capital projects. School finance experts say the base state aid per pupil figure shows true spending on students in the classroom.

The proposed reduction in base state aid results from Brownback's decision not to replace expiring federal stimulus funding that had helped prop up the education budget over the past two years.

Davis and Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said the cut would be actually deeper because failing to replace the federal funds carries into a third year bringing the total reduction in base state aid per pupil to $362 -- a 9 percent cut that would set the level at $3,650 per student, which would be the lowest since the 1996-97 school year.

But O'Neal said there are areas in school finance that the state pays for that it probably shouldn't.

"I will submit that the education that our children should be mandated to have and the state pay for is something less than the sum total of all curriculum that is being offered right now," he said.

Here is the base state aid per pupil since the 1992-93 school year, according to the Kansas Department of Education.

1992-93 - $3,600

1993-94 - $3,600

1994-95 - $3,600

1995-96 - $3,626

1996-97 - $3,648

1997-98 - $3,670

1998-99 - $3,720

1999-00 - $3,770

2000-01 - $3,820

2001-02 - $3,870

2002-03 - $3,863

2003-04 - $3,863

2004-05 - $3,863

2005-06 - $4,257

2006-07 - $4,316

2007-08 - $4,374

2008-09 - $4,400

2009-10 - $4,012

2010-11 - $4,012

2011-12 - $3,937 (Brownback proposal)

2012-13 - $3,780 (Brownback proposal)

Comments

oscar 3 years, 3 months ago

if socialiste democrats hate Kansas so much i will help them move some where else to live. Time to stop wasteing all our state money on schools which have no benefits for we thje poeple. we won and they lost get used to it and shut up youre wining!

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kal110386 3 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, the minority have a right to voice their opinions and concerns in this country. Also, just because the majority of Kansas residents lean a certain way politically, doesn't mean they're right. If you hate their "whining" so much, why don't you pack your bags and move away then, so you don't have to hear it?

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TheOnlyGreyghost 3 years, 3 months ago

Oscar, you're a glaring example of why more money needs to be channeled into education, as you were sadly let down as a child. Had the schools done a better job of teaching you, you would not this day remain half literate and and a complete imbecile.

Now, please enroll in an adult English class and learn what you should have been taught in third grade.

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