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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 1/27/2015 6:08:19 AM
Commentary
What's REALLY The Matter With Kansas

By: Dave Trabert
May 23, 2011
Word Count: 524

A May 22 story in the Wichita Eagle about the lack of focus on job creation in the just-concluded legislative session provides great insight into the economic stagnation the state has suffered over the last decade.

According to the Kansas Dept. of Labor, between April 2008 and April 2011 we lost 73,200 private sector jobs (6.5%), 500 state government jobs (0.9%) and 500 local government jobs (0.3%). Last year, despite warnings from two academic studies that a sales tax increase would cost thousands of jobs, legislators did it anyway – and sure enough, between July 1 and April 30 we lost 5,000 private sector jobs (seasonally adjusted according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for comparability). State government employment didn’t change over the time frame.

So what was the focus of that lengthy article? The loss of government jobs. Private sector jobs were barely mentioned.

The Eagle article spoke of a large number of state job cuts without mentioning that the majority were vacant positions. But there was no mention of last year’s legislative action that destroyed private sector jobs by raising the sales tax so government could spend more money.

That pretty much sums up the job problem in Kansas for the last decade: more concern about protecting government and not much more than lip service for the private sector.

The article painted a dire picture for education but failed to mention that total state spending on K-12 will increase by more than $100 million next year. Mandatory spending increases on school employee retirement benefits, special education and school bond payments prompted a reduction in the starting point of the funding formula (base state aid) but legislators also passed a law allowing districts to make up the difference in base state aid. Districts are allowed to transfer carryover cash balances from a variety of funds for operational purposes – and all but one district started this year with enough money in those funds to do so. Most, in fact, had more than $1,000 per-pupil in those funds. Districts have the ability to avoid the layoffs mentioned in this article, so why did the author and those interviewed fail to mention it?

There was also no perspective placed on the education jobs that local school boards chose to eliminate. Current employment levels are still considerably higher than just a few years ago. Statewide there are 4.6% more teachers than in 2005 and all other school employment is 8.6% higher; enrollment is up just 3.1%. It’s a shame that those people lost their jobs but it would be nice to see just as much concern for the private sector unemployed.

The Rural Opportunity Zones created by the Legislature are a good step forward but the change that would create more jobs than any other effort – eventually eliminating the income tax – was killed in the Senate. They wouldn’t even allow it to be discussed. Opponents of eliminating the income tax are very concerned about sustaining government.

Kansas will continue to suffer the economic stagnation we’ve seen over the last decade until we stop valuing government jobs over private sector jobs. That’s what is really the matter with Kansas.

View the full story at The Daily Caller. Click here
View the full story at The Hays Daily News. Click here
View the full story at True Blue Conservative. Click here
View the full story at Kiowa County Signal. Click here
View the full story at The Scott County Record Online. Click here