Kansas school spending facts

School spending survey advertisement by Kansas Policy Institute

In Kansas, we find that few citizens know the facts about school spending, and other government spending too. An advertisement placed in Kansas newspapers by the Kansas Policy Institute aims to increase Kansans’ knowledge of school spending by presenting a few questions along with the answers.

The advertisements are useful because we’ve found that few people know the level of school spending. In fact, very few can come close to guessing the amount we spend on schools and whether that spending has increased or decreased in recent years. The story Most Kansans oppose higher school taxes reports on a poll conducted by KPI that discovered these results.

The school spending lobby, primarily the Kansas National Education Association (or KNEA, the teachers union) and the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), aren’t helping Kansans learn the true facts about school spending. Amazingly, parents of schoolchildren are less informed about school spending facts than those without children in school.

While it is usually assumed that Kansans are willing to pay higher taxes to support schools, the poll found that this support wilts as the facts become known. The poll’s authors wrote: “Kansans are overwhelmingly opposed to paying higher taxes to give more money to schools under current conditions.”

A press release from KPI gives more details about the poll. The results of the Kansas poll are similar to those found in a national study of knowledge of school spending.


8 thoughts on “Kansas school spending facts”

  1. Kerr Avon, why do you attempt to distract attention from the issues that you obviously don’t want to address?

  2. Kansas schools currently receive a total of $12,225 per pupil.

    Nearly 2 years ago when I tried to find out what they receive, I was very surprised to find they receive more than $12,000 per student. And USD 259, that year, actually turned down receiving several excellent, well-qualified foreign high school students who would have brought more money and cultural enrichment to the district and its students that year.

  3. How is the “average per pupil” even relevent to the discussion?

    The amount above the Base State Aid Per Pupil is restricted money. It can only be used on specific programs for specific students with specific needs

    What you are doing is down right LYING to the public about how the schools are funded.

  4. 1 – not all of the money above base aid is restricted.

    2 – not all of the money cited in the “aid per pupil” metric goes to educate that student. There are a lot of systemic inefficiencies lumped into that amount.

    3 – the regulations that “restrict” funds should be reconsidered. Achievement has been high in districts that allocate money directly to schools per pupil to be spent at will. What WPS has is the opportunity to decentralize to save money, increase achievement, and improve working conditions, and the central administration has taken a step, but I don’t think they’ll follow throug h willingly.

  5. 1 – How can you claim that not all money above BSAPP is not restricted without proof of such claim? This is a typical CON strategy: Tell a lie long enough and maybe uneducated populous will start to believe it.

    2 – It depends on what you consider “educating a student”. It appears many who post here do not understand the modern educational system. As to your claim of “systemic inefficiencies”, see the typical CON strategy in #1.

    3 – The rules that govern the use of unrestricted funds are interwoven between and state and federal governments. Special Education money is probably the most complex and involves a huge percentage. To make this sound simplistic is to invoke the typical CON strategy posted in #1 above.

    You totally misunderstand the cuts USD 259 has had to make. The cuts are not being made because of the desire to appease the “free market gods”, it is because the Legislature is negligent in their jobs. Student instructional services will be compromised in the upcoming year with these cuts. Theses actions will impact a generation of our children and not for the better.

  6. “Tell a lie long enough and maybe [the] uneducated populous will start to believe it.” Now that is something the LEFT has mastered! But who is responsible for the uneducated populous? Hmmm… I think that would also be the left. The political correctness that has been an integral part of the K-12 public education system in America for decades has given us the undereducated masses we have today. They prey on the pocketbooks of the productive who’ve managed to excel in spite of their PC public education background. (We can thank some good parenting for that.)

    Now to address our ignorance for not understanding the way public ed is funded. So why does the funding process have to be so complex? Obvious answer: Because gov’t is involved. I recall a former school board member, who was not a member of the PC crowd, saying that he had dealt with budgets in the private sector for years but did not understand the convoluted budget process of USD 259.

    The cuts will happen AND we may even see some tax increases, but when it comes right down to it, public school systems in large metropolitan areas will continue to do a lousy job of educating the masses. The middle class masses will continue to escape to suburbia and private/parochial schools, in hopes of better educating their children, and the left will continue to support and defend that which they have created: A permanent, multi-generational, ill-educated underclass of Americans.

  7. I must admit upfront that I’m probably far less knowledgeable about all of the details than the last few people commenting here. What I can plainly see from the per student chart is that spending went from only $9,700 five years ago to being somewhere between $12,225 and $13,700 for 2010. No matter how you slice and argue the details, this is a huge increase in spending. Those kind of increases are unsustainable.

    When it comes to money there is always going to be acrimonious polarization between those who want to increase spending and those who want to decrease spending on whatever happens to be the budget item under discussion.

    What strikes me about the good folks in Wichita is at least there are some numbers in black and white to begin the debate. At least Wichita or maybe all of Kansas is ahead of everybody else in this respect. Some of the other states and school districts may keep this kind of data. It’s usually like pulling teeth to get the data released to the public so an informed debate can begin.

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