Wichita and Kansas schools

Report from Topeka, June 24, 2005

Thank you again, Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network The $160.7 million school spending bill approved by the Kansas senate yesterday passed with the votes of all 10 senate Democrats and 15 GOP tax 'n spenders. These legislators were also willing to surrender their constitutional and budget authority to the six appointed members of the Kansas Supreme Court. Here is the list in alphabetical order: Pat Apple, R; Jim Barone, D; Don Betts, D; Pete Brungardt, R; Jay Emler, R; Marci Francisco, D; Mark Gilstrap, D; Greta Goodwin, D; David Haley, D; Tony Hensley, D Minority Leader; Laura Kelly,…
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Report from Topeka, June 23, 2005

Writing from a rest stop on Interstate 80 in Iowa where there is free wireless Internet access: Thank you again, Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network, for your insights into the Kansas Legislature's special session. The Kansas senate begin surrendering their legislative powers to the Kansas Supreme Court when a 25-to-14 majority approved a $160 million school spending bill. This surrender took the form of the supreme court may want $143 million but we'll show them with a $160 million! Take that, Kansas Supreme Court! Next for the senate is gambling and that wrangling will take quite a while.…
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Jayhawk Judgment

A few quotes from an excellent editorial in the June 22, 2005 Wall Street Journal titled "Jayhawk Judgment." The link is here, although you probably have to subscribe to read it. Articles on some of these topics have recently appeared on this website. Kansas already spends a shade under $10,000 per student in the public schools -- the most in the region and above the national average even though Kansas is a low cost-of-living state. Also ignored by the courts were the volumes of scientific evidence that the link between school spending and educational achievement is close to nonexistent. Perhaps…
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Gambling for education

In a free society dedicated to personal liberty, people should be able to gamble. With gambling, though, there are fairly predictable costs that arise. Because of the variety of social services that our government provides, many of these costs are borne by the public as a whole. In other words, allowing people the freedom to gamble also means that many others must pay to clean up the mess that some will make of their lives. This cost outweighs the benefit of the freedom to gamble. If we could isolate the harm that problem gamblers cause so that everyone else wouldn't…
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Report from Topeka, June 22, 2005

Here's a report on the special session of the Kansas Legislature from Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director of the Kansas Taxpayers Network. Thanks to Karl for his fine reporting and commentary. Here's the start of a blog for KTN and any other quality Kansas sites interested in this state's fiscal crisis thanks to our left-wing, prejudiced Kansas supreme court. For the details on the court's conflicts of interest see the recent KTN editorial column discussing Justice Nuss and Justice Allegrucci's need to recuse themselves in the school finance litigation. The house is likely done for the day (June 22) with all…
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How children lose in the Kansas Legislature’s special session

USD 259 (Wichita) public schools superintendent Winston Brooks plans to use the majority of the anticipated increase in school funding to reduce class size. Evidence cited in other articles on this website show that smaller class sizes don't produce better educational outcomes for students. Because the conventional wisdom is that smaller class sizes are good for students, the extra money and smaller class sizes will be saluted as a victory for the children. Editorial writers, school administrators, teachers, and those who don't care to confront facts will thank the Kansas Supreme Court and Kansas Legislature for saving the children. The…
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Regarding School Finance from Senator Karin Brownlee

By Senator Karin Brownlee, Republican from Olathe What is the higher priority? Should the Legislature send $143 million more to schools or preserve the form of government our forefathers carefully designed over two hundred years ago? The separation of powers doctrine is fundamental to maintaining our free society because it maintains a balance of powers with the judiciary unable to control the budget. That is until last Friday when the Kansas Supreme Court blurred the lines and came out with a ruling that the Kansas Legislature should appropriate an additional $143 million to the K-12 schools, for starters. The Court…
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Base School funding on research, not feelings

On the surface, it would seem like smaller class sizes would produce better educational outcomes. Intuitively, this makes sense. Research tells a different story, however. Research by Harvard economist Caroline M. Hoxby titled "The effects of class size on student achievement: New evidence from population variation", The Quarterly Journal of Economics 115 :4 (2000), 1239-1285, which can be read here: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/hoxby/papers/effects.pdf makes a different conclusion. Some quotes from the study: I identify the effects of class size on student achievement using longitudinal variation in the population associated with each grade in 649 elementary schools. I use variation in class size…
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Disgraceful decision will hurt Kansas

This is a reprise of a January 10, 2005 column, which is worthwhile to read again. Disgraceful Decision Will Hurt Kansasby Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director, Kansas Taxpayers Network The Kansas Supreme Court's school finance decision is deeply flawed both in substance and in procedure. This five page judicial edict (www.kscourts.org see case no. 92,032) announced January 3 is designed to pressure the legislature into voting for more spending for public schools without saying by how much. Many tax and spend advocates are now claiming the court is requiring a tax hike, but no such specific language is contained within this…
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Ethics Require Two Recusals In School Finance Lawsuit

Thank you to Karl Peterjohn for your insight into the ethical mess that is our Kansas Supreme Court. Ethics Require Two Recusals In School Finance LawsuitBy Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network Would you want to go to court and face a judge who used to serve as legal counsel for your courtroom opponent? That is one of the ethics challenges facing the state in trying to fight off the $1 billion school finance lawsuit in front of the Kansas Supreme Court. This court heard oral arguments again May 11 in this case. There are 15 school districts spending…
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Kansas Attorney General Has it Right

TOPEKA -- Alan Cobb, director of the Kansas chapter of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, today released the following statement in response to the briefs filed in the State vs. Montoy case currently before the Kansas Supreme Court: "As questions and concerns swirl about whether or not the Kansas Supreme Court can order a statewide tax increase, we applaud Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline for putting this issue to rest. In a brief filed yesterday with the court and in response to questions from reporters, AG Kline said clearly that the Kansas Supreme Court does not have the authority to…
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Tax funds finance Kansas school finance lawsuit

Contributed by Kansas Taxpayers Network By Karl Peterjohn There might not be funds for public school classrooms but for 15 Kansas school districts there is money for financing lawsuits. Since the 1998-99 school year, $2,095,020 has been spent in public funds to pay for the school finance litigation and lawsuit. This outrage is a classic case of the school districts biting the state's hand that fed the 300 Kansas school districts with over $2.7 billion in state funds. Of course, the state does not have any money that it has not taken from taxpayers so you and I pay our…
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Frisky Flunkies in Atchison County

From Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network The Wall Street Journal's "Tony & Tacky" section mentioned one Kansas school district on the day the Kansas senate was debating the largest one-year state spending hike for public schools in this century and according to one legislator, in state history. The $127 million increase in state spending would be in addition to the current $2.7 billion the state is already spending. School districts in Kansas are already spending millions of dollars to lobby the legislature, promote student and school employee contacts to try and influence legislators, and sue the state over school finance.…
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Court Sets Trap for Legislature

I received the following, which I thought was interesting, so I present it. I do not entirely understand the author's argument, so if anyone can help me understand, I would appreciate it. Kansas Legislative Education And Research 827 SW TOPEKA BLVD TOPEKA, KS 66612 PHONE: 785 233 8765 EMAIL: ks [email protected] Contact: Bob L. Corkins Court sets Trap for Legislature The Bait: "The Kansas Constitution thus imposes a mandate that our educational system cannot be static or regressive... "...there is substantial competent evidence, including the Augenblick & Myers study, establishing that a suitable education, as that term is defined by…
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Latest Federal School Finance Spending Revealed

Here is an article from the Kansas Taxpayers Network that reports on school spending: http://www.kansastaxpayers.com/editorial_fedschool.html. On Saturday February 12, 2005 I attended a meeting of the South Central Kansas Legislative Delegation. Lynn Rogers, USD 259 School Board President, and Connie Dietz, Vice-President of the same body, attended. There has been a proposal to spend an additional $415 million over the next three years on schools. Asked if this would be enough to meet their needs, the Wichita school board members replied, "No."
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