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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: School funding editorial was misleading

  • The Leavenworth Times ran an inflammatory and highly misleading OpEd in their Oct 5-6 weekend edition about supposed Kansas school funding cuts.
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  • To the editor:
    The Leavenworth Times ran an inflammatory and highly misleading OpEd in their Oct 5-6 weekend edition about supposed Kansas school funding cuts.
    The article claims that "Kansas lawmakers slashed education spending some 16.5 percent since 2008" which is completely untrue. The Kansas Dept. of Education website shows total dollars spent in 2008-09 as $5,667 million increasing through 2011-12 (latest data year available) to $5,771 million. That's a 2 percent increase at a time when the nation/state verged on economic collapse and is a mark of legislative and governoratorial leadership success.
    The OpEd also blames "ultra-conservative Republican" legislators and Gov. Brownback for shifting the burden of school financial support to local communities. Our children's education is supposed to be a parental/local responsibility. Traditionally it is funded by local (property) taxes but for at least a decade that provides just over a third of total school funding. During Gov. Sebelius's tenure local contributions were as high as 39 percent dropping to 35 percent in 2009 offset by federal stimulus dollars. This year it rises to 37 percent as "Obama stimulus" dollars disappear.
    Perhaps the Times ran the article to stir interest as a fresh lawsuit, brought by liberal special interest groups, is now pending at the Kansas Supreme Court seeking additional multi-millions for education.
    With Kansas already spending a "miserly" 66 percent of its total budget on education, the Times needs to do a better job fact-checking before publishing other so-called news sources. The previous Sebelius-era education lawsuit successfully spiked education spending by millions of dollars but yielded NO student performance increases.
    Basic math and economic realities don't seem to be the education lobby's or the Garden City Telegram's strong suits. Emotion laden hyperbole and judicial vote counting seems to be the math they are counting on.
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