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KASB urges adequate school funding

The Kansas Association of School Boards is urging the Legislature and Gov. Brownback to “fund schools at the level needed to keep up with changing costs and invest in the programs known to drive student success.”
Mark Tallman, KASB’s associate director for advocacy, gave testimony on Wednesday to the House K-12 Education Budget Committee.
“Between 2009 and what Brownback recommends for 2019, total aid increases from $3.76 billion to $3.96 billion, or approximately $200 million over 10 years, which is an increase of just over 0.5 percent. That fails to keep up with inflation, growth in enrollment and the changing needs of our students,” Tallman said.
“In fact, school operating budgets would actually decline from $3.45 billion to $3.38 billion. State aid for school district operating budgets pays for teachers and instructional staff, student support programs, leadership, operations and maintenance.
KASB research has shown that:
• States with the highest levels of student success spend more per pupil than Kansas;
• The spending gap between Kansas and high-level states has widened since the implementation of the block grant;
• Kansas ranks 38th among states in the rate of increases in school funding since 2008;
• Kansas student achievement, although still high, has not increased as much as the national average and peer states in recent years.
“KASB understands the difficult budget and tax choices the Legislature faces. But we believe the time has come to stop allowing education funding to fall behind inflation, enrollment and other states,” Tallman said.
“We need to begin investing in programs we know help students succeed. These include additional support for low income, disabled and ELL students to narrow the achievement gaps in high school graduation; improving preparation for postsecondary education; and expanding college and technical education programs.
“It also requires supporting the State Board of Education’s Kansans Can vision to make Kansas the world leader in the success of each and every student. We urge the Legislature to address the state’s revenue shortfall so that school funding matches the rate of inflation and student growth, plus funding for the additional programs identified above. We understand that it will take additional, on-going revenue, and we support a balanced, comprehensive program to raise that revenue,” Tallman said.