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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt spoke to members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club on January 22, 2106. He addressed cases before the Kansas and United States Supreme Courts, including the Wichita marijuana case and the Carr Brothers appeal. This is an audio presentation.

Guest host for Voice of Reason

Bob 2015-12-17 11.25.52On Thursday I filled in as guest host on The Voice of Reason with Andy Hooser as the host took a few days of vacation. Joseph Ashby of the Joseph Ashby Show was the producer. Sedgwick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn was in-studio guest for most of the show. Jennifer Baysinger of Colaition for a Better Wichita called to discuss Wichita’s future water supply.

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle

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Todd Johnson, Chair, Sedgwick County Republican Party
Todd Johnson, Chair, Sedgwick County Republican Party
Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle spoke to members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club on Friday December 18, 2015. She addressed challenges the legislature will face when the session starts in January.

Todd Johnson, Chair of the Sedgwick County Republican Party, introduced Senator Wagle.

This is an audio presentation.

Kansas Legislature and Elections: 2016 Preview

Pachyderm 2015-12-04 Bright Carpenter 02Natalie Bright and Marlee Carpenter of Bright and Carpenter Consulting briefed members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club on the results of the 2015 session of the Kansas Legislature, and what to look for in next year’s session and elections. December 4, 2015.

The accompanying visual presentation may be viewed here.

Mike O’Neal, President of Kansas Chamber of Commerce

Voice for Liberty radio logo square 02 155x116Mike O’Neal, President of Kansas Chamber of Commerce, spoke to members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club on October 9, 2015. His topic was “The Kansas Budget and Taxes: The 2015 Legislative Session and Looking Ahead to the 2016 Legislative Session.” This is an audio presentation.

Reporting from the Wichita Eagle on this event is here, but be sure to read the comment by Dave Trabert of Kansas Policy Institute:

The Eagle’s analysis here is just wrong. The statute does not refer to current spending as the Eagle used, but total spending.

72-64c01. Sixty-five percent of moneys to be spent on instruction. (a) It is the public policy goal of the state of Kansas that at least 65% of the moneys appropriated, distributed or otherwise provided by the state to school districts shall be expended in the classroom or for instruction. http://www.kslegislature.org/…/072…/072_064c_0001_k/

Absent a qualification limiting the analysis to current spending or anything else, the statue applies to total spending.

Total spending according to KSDE in 2014 (2015 hasn’t been publised) was $5,975,517,681 and Instruction spending (downloaded and tabulated across all funds in the KSDE Comprehensive Fiscal and Performance System) was $3,293,217,088, which is 55.1% of spending. Mike O’Neal correctly said that Instruction accounted for 55% of total spending.

The difference between actual spent on Instruction and 65% is therefore $591,576,250. That is more than $500 million…and the Eagle is again wrong on the facts.

FYI, the definition of Instruction comes from KSDE and the US Dept of Education…and has not changed over the period.

Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes on KPERS

Voice for Liberty radio logo square 02 155x116Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes gave a presentation on the status of KPERS, the Kansas State Employees Pension System.

This was recorded on September 11, 2015 at the Wichita Pachyderm Club. This is an audio presentation. The accompanying visual presentation is here.

Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes at Wichita Pachyderm Club.
Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes at Wichita Pachyderm Club.

Politics, the courts, and innovative solutions

Voice for Liberty radio logo square 02 155x116The Honorable 18th Judicial District Court Judge Phil Journey presented an inspiring and forward thinking presentation at the Wichita Pachyderm Club luncheon meeting titled, “Politics, the Courts, and Innovative Solutions.” Said Pachyderm Club vice-president John Todd: “Judge Journey’s common-sense, fair, effective, and innovative methods of dealing with people who appear in his court is superb.” This audio presentation was recorded on July 24, 2015. The accompanying visual presentation is here.

Randall Harris, Utility Manager of Chisholm Creek Utility Authority

Voice for Liberty radio logo square 02 155x116Randall Harris, Utility Manager of Chisholm Creek Utility Authority, spoke on the topic “An Overview of the Chisholm Creek Utility Authority.” This was recorded on August 26, 2015, at the Park City (Kansas) Chamber of Commerce meeting. This is an audio presentation. The accompanying visual presentation is here.

Discussion of open government in Wichita and Kansas

Perspectives may differ, but the point is the same — more government transparency leads to more citizen engagement and better outcomes in communities, states, and nations.

In this podcast, Kansas Policy Institute Vice President James Franko discusses government transparency with Seth Etter and Bob Weeks. Etter is the organizer of Open Wichita, an initiative to bring the benefits of open data and civic hacking to Wichita. Weeks blogs at Voice for Liberty in Wichita where he advocates for government transparency and accountability and uses open records requests to access, analyze and publish state and local government data. KPI maintains KansasOpenGov.org, an online data portal for state and local government data.

Listen below, or click here for this and other Kansas Policy Institute podcasts.

Jay Price on Generations: Shifting Thought Over the Decades

Professor Jay Price of Wichita State University delivered a lecture on the changing nature of generations over the years. You’ve heard about the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and others. Here, Professor Price defines these terms and tells us about the characteristics of each generation. This is from the Wichita Pachyderm Club, June 5, 2015. Audio is below. The accompanying visual aids are available either as a Powerpoint presentation or pdf file.

Wichita city council candidates

Voice for Liberty Radio 150x150On March 31, 2015 Coalition for a Better Wichita held a candidate forum for candidates for Wichita city council districts 4 and 5. For district 4 the candidates are Jeff Blubaugh and Josh Shorter. Blubaugh was unable to attend. For district 5, the candidates are Gary Bond and Bryan Frye. Jennifer Baysinger was the moderator. Mason Baysinger was the timer.

Rally for school choice in Kansas

This month, parents and children from around Kansas rallied in the Kansas Capitol for school choice.

Speakers included James Franko of Kansas Policy Institute. He told the audience that children deserve better than what they are getting today. For many, he said that might be in a public school, but for many others it may be in a private school. Parents and their children should make that decision. It shouldn’t be based on their zip code. Individuals, not institutions, should be the focus.

Kansas now has a private school choice program. Franko told the audience that newspaper coverage of this program emphasizes how it helps private schools and hurts public schools. But we should be reading stories about how school choice helps kids, giving each child the freedom and opportunity to find the best educational fit. He explained that school choice also helps the students who remain in public schools, referring to a Friedman Foundation for Education Choice study. “It’s about helping every single child,” he said.

The study Franko mentioned is A Win-Win Solution: The Empirical Evidence on School Choice. In its executive summary, author Greg Forster, Ph.D. writes “Opponents frequently claim school choice does not benefit participants, hurts public schools, costs taxpayers, facilitates segregation, and even undermines democracy. However, the empirical evidence consistently shows that choice improves academic outcomes for participants and public schools, saves taxpayer money, moves students into more integrated classrooms, and strengthens the shared civic values and practices essential to American democracy.”

Later, the specific finding that Franko used in his talk: “Twenty-three empirical studies (including all methods) have examined school choice’s impact on academic outcomes in public schools. Of these, 22 find that choice improves public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found that choice harms public schools.

Michael Chartier of the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice said that there are now 51 school choice programs in 24 states plus the District of Columbia.

School Choice Rally, Kansas Capitol 2015-02-02 15.07.38 HDRAndrea Hillebert, principal of Mater Dei Catholic School in Topeka told the audience that school choice benefits families, schools, and the state. Families can choose the learning environment that is best for their children, and are not penalized if they choose a school that is not run by the government. She told the audience that “school choice encourages — requires — families to take an active role in shaping their students’ future.” Schools benefit because consumer choice is a catalyst for innovating programming and continuous improvement. The state benefits from the increased achievement of students in non-public schools.

Susan Estes of Americans for Prosperity – Kansas explained that even as a former public schoolteacher, it has been a challenge for her to navigate the school system so that the needs of her three children were met. She said that parents not only deserve, but have the right to be the primary decision maker for their children.

Bishop Wade Moore, founder and principal of Urban Preparatory Academy in Wichita, completed the program. Urban Prep is a new private school in northeast Wichita, and students from that school attended the rally. He said that our legislators have “a moral responsibility to do what is right for each Kansas kid.” He mentioned the students that are pushed through the system until they graduate, but are unprepared for college, trade school, or employment. “A lot of those children have no chance at life. So we say that we have a crisis in this nation,” he said.

Alluding to how Kansas has few school choice programs, Moore said “It’s time for us to wake up and move ahead, like the rest of the nation, in education reform.” He said that he heard a school superintendent make the statement that our children and parents have a choice in education. He said “They can choose one of our schools to attend.” That is not choice, Moore said. Real choice is when parents have the opportunity to go outside the public school system.

The reason for the poor academic performance of many children is that their parents have not had choice and control over the children’s education. “It is imperative that all children, regardless of their race, gender, place of residence, and socio-economic status, learn the concepts and strategies necessary for them to develop and succeed,” he told the audience.

Republican candidates for Wichita mayor

Voice for Liberty Radio 150x150On February 19, 2015 the Sedgwick County Republican Party held a forum for Republican candidates for Wichita mayor. Attending, in the order of their appearance, were Sean Hatfield, Dan Heflin, Jeff Longwell, Sam Williams, and Jennifer Winn. Todd Johnson moderated. Jennifer Baysinger compiled questions from the audience and asked them of candidates. Sue Colaluca was the timing judge.