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"It will take a long time to wade through the 139-page ruling, but even a cursory examination makes it clear that the three-judge panel didn’t let the facts get in the way of their decision. Instead, they made what amounts to a political decision that says the Legislature must increase funding by at least $548 million to meet the Rose standards even though school districts don’t know how to measure those standards." http://kansaspolicy.org/KPIBlog/124008.aspx


Kansas school funding decision ignores facts in arriving at a political decision
www.kansaspolicy.org
Today’s ruling on Gannon v. State of Kansas in which the Shawnee County District Court declared school funding to be unconstitutionally low ignores a long list of facts that disprove school districts’ contentions.  The three-judge panel ma
Wed, 31 Dec 2014 17:14:11 +0000
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KPI president Dave Trabert on today's ruling in the on-going school finance litigation, "This ruling willfully ignores a long list of facts that disprove school districts' contentions. The judges may even have ignored the State Supreme Court's order that adequacy is to be determined on whether outcomes - as defined by the Rose capacities - are being met. The judges essentially dusted off their original decision that was rejected by the Supreme Court and added some new legal jargon attempting to justify their original action in arriving at what is little more than a political decision."

Stay tuned for more analysis...
Tue, 30 Dec 2014 20:26:35 +0000
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Gov't can provide quality service while saving taxpayers money.


A plan for balancing the Kansas state budget

Kansas Policy Institute President Dave Trabert presents KPI's plan to balance the state's budget without service reductions or tax increases. Trabert spoke a...
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:34:52 +0000
Last Refreshed 2/1/2015 10:22:58 AM
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End the Hypocrisy Over Use of Reserve Balances
Posted by Dave Trabert on Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Have you noticed that some of the same people who say the State should spend its surplus balance have a completely opposite opinion about school districts?

Today’s story in the Topeka Capital-Journal about House Appropriations recommendations on school funding misstates what was actually proposed.  School funding would not be 'cut' in the sense that money is taken away.  As explained today in the Wichita Eagle, the Governor's budget proposed adding $29 million this year and the House Appropriations action is simply eliminating the proposed increase.

The rationale for not increasing funding is that districts already have the money in carryover cash reserves – state and local tax dollars provided in prior years that were not spent.  Legislation passed last year gives districts the authority to transfer up to $154 million to current operations this year and to date, only $24 million of that authority has been exercised.  Even if districts used the entire $154 million, they would still have about $700 million left over, plus another $837 million in Capital Outlay and Debt Service funds.

School districts' balances in their current operating funds have increased 90% over the last six years, going from $458 million to $868 million.  Those balances increased every single year, which means districts didn't spend all of their tax dollars...every single year.

All government entities need some degree of surplus balances but district balances are much larger than state balances.   And not just in total dollars.  The state's goal is to have the statutorily required ending balance equal to 7.5% of General Fund expenditures.  School districts' ending balances in their current operating funds (everything but capital and debt service) represented 11.7% of current expenditures in 2006 and increased to 16.0% by 2011.  The current reserve ratio is somewhere between 16.6% and 18.8%, depending upon which budget figures one uses from KSDE.  Carryover cash reserve balances by district are available on KansasOpenGov.org.

We agree that excess reserves should be used to fund current operations instead of taking more money from taxpayers.  Those who believe the State of Kansas should give some of it's relatively small surplus to school districts should be consistent and call for school districts to tap their own large reserves instead of asking taxpayers for more money.

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