- Kansas revenues continue to be lower than projected, largely due to the effects of tax cuts enacted in 2012. Further funding cuts to education are the result and will continue in 2016.
- While some point to figures that show increases in school funding in the past five years, these mostly reflect accounting tricks. While considering the shift in mill levy from the local-to-state government as an increase in ‘state’ aid may look good on paper, it doesn’t mean that the state is investing more in our schools.
- The current increases in school funding can’t be used in the classroom. Catching up on employee pension funding after years of underinvestment doesn’t put a dollar in Kansas classrooms.
- Kansas school funding has failed to keep pace with growth in schools’ expenditures or Kansas’ income. Kansans are now paying the lowest percentage of their personal income on public school education in 40 years.
- The recession was bad everywhere, but Kansas’ tax cuts piled on. Between 2008 and 2014, Kansas saw some of the steepest education funding cuts in the country. Kansas’ cut in per pupil spending (16.5%) was the 4th deepest in the nation.
- The SMSD saw significant funding cuts in 2009-2011, the effects of which still reverberate in classrooms. This was the outcome, despite district reorganization and the early retirement package for teachers.
- Money isn’t everything in education, but it does matter. In response to budget cuts from the state legislature in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, the SMSD raised the class size cap, eliminated funding for new books in libraries, eliminated more than 400 employees including regular teaching staff and special education staff, raised bus fees and instituted an activity fee at the high schools.
With increased funding, the SMSD could undo many of these cuts and develop and implement new academic programs, provide early education, raise staff compensation for the first time in more than 5 years, and hire elementary and middle school counselors.
As parents, we need to participate as much as possible in school fundraisers, AND participate in local elections, supporting candidates that prioritize school funding.