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Crisis in education
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Dear Editor,
To All Citizens,
We all need to get active and communicate with our Representatives and Senators. There are 4 big issues that affect all of us.
1. The Governor wants to scrap the school funding formula for 2 years while creating a new one. This is a way to cut more funding for the schools and to avoid doing what the Supreme Court of Kansas said they must do in the Gannon decision. The court said that the State was not funding the schools adequately.
2. The Governor wants to change how the Supreme Court Justices are chosen. This is because he does not like the rulings they have given about school funding. The current system is set up to prevent the good old boy appointments.
3. The Governor also wants to change the spring local elections to November. They say this would get a larger turnout of voters. If this is the real concern they can go to mail in ballots They also want to change them to partisan elections. Currently the school board, city, township, etc elections are non partisan Partisan elections would keep Federal employees and military personnel from holding a local office because of Federal law. Changing the elections to the fall would make it difficult for school boards to function. New board members would begin their term in middle of the fiscal year.You do not just go in and instantly understand school finance. This would be bad for new board members especially if 4 new ones were just elected. Also after the first of the year is when evaluations of administration is made. This would not be fair for anyone.
4. The 20 mill levy for schools goes to the County Treasurer and the funds were then sent to the schools. After the last legislative session, the funds now collected by the County Treasurer, are sent to the State and they are then supposed to send them back to the school districts. This has slowed the process down. We are only getting part of the funding back from the State. The State says the rest will come later. This is totally inefficient and hurts the local banks as well as the schools. The State is also trying to claim that this local tax money is now money coming from the State.
In 1992 schools got $3,600 per student. This year we are supposed to get $3,852 per student. If there had been no inflation we would be doing better with this increase. Actually $3,600 in 1992 would be same as $6,001.12 in 2013. No schools would be in trouble with this amount of funding.
This week the Legislature has voted to take away money promised to the schools, as well as other agencies, to try to balance the budget. This budget deficit has all been caused by the drastic income tax cuts in 2012. Without these cuts, the State budget would be in balance.
News flash: The Governor has now proposed to cut the above $3,852 by $42. Things seem to get worse everyday.
Please contact your Senators and Representative.
Gary Yost
USD 403 Board Member
KASB Region 8 Vice-President