K-12 EDUCATION: FUND IT WELL. SPEND IT WELL.
Reform the K-12 funding formula to keep our tax dollars here at home, benefiting our schools.
K-12 funding has been reformed. Local school districts have unprecedented flexibility to determine spending priorities, putting school boards, parents and teachers back in charge. Budget provisions keep more local dollars at home, investing in our kids. Blue Valley per student funding is now $14,576.
K-12 Funding Reforms Move to Focus on Classroom Learning
Contrary to media hype, K-12 is the top budget priority, receiving $6 billion in annual funding, $14,576 per student in Blue Valley. Funding is at a record high. Below are education budget facts rarely, if ever, reported in the media.
I voted for reforms supported by the Blue Valley School District, providing unprecedented flexibility to school districts, cutting bureaucratic “red tape”. School boards, parents and teachers now set their own priorities for K-12 spending, including classroom funding, teacher salaries, and other expenses.
The key to a quality K-12 education isn’t just “how much we spend,” but “how we spend.” Too much is spent on administration. Our first priority should ensure tax dollars actually reach the classroom to hire, retain and reward the best teachers – that is my goal for education reform.
Fighting To Keep Schools Open & Funded
The Kansas Supreme Court seeks to cut $16.4 million from JoCo Schools, $2.4 Million from Blue Valley. The court threatens closure of all JoCo schools if money is not given up.
I will fight to keep schools open, and keep our K-12 tax dollars here at home benefiting classroom learning for our kids, using those resources to hire, retain and reward the best teachers.
The Kansas Supreme Court is hearing yet another lawsuit regarding school finance. K-12 litigation has been nearly non-stop for more than 40 years. The latest scheme makes two claims – first, that $6 billion in annual funding is not adequate, and secondly, that even if it is, it is not distributed equitably – or as close to equally as possible.
There has yet to be presented in any of these claims a hard and fast dollar amount – in other words, every time over the years when the court has ruled the state should add a given amount of dollars, another lawsuit is filed claiming it is not enough, and the court then acts as it has recently, demanding more money be spent. Yet, its own guidelines state that proper school funding is but one component of a suitable K-12 education. The court has previously ruled that outcomes are a greater measure of education than is funding. Yet, when the lawyers file lawsuits, the court again pays off like a slot machine.
The current headlines regarding possible school closure come from the court’s most recent ruling on equity – they have identified a component of school funding that comprises less than 1% of the overall $6 billion in annual funding, that the court says gives too great of an advantage to higher property value school districts like Blue Valley. The court has ordered the legislature to disgorge Johnson County schools of $16.4 million and send that money to Wichita, Kansas City, KS and Topeka to be used as property tax relief in those communities, rather than being invested in the classroom.
The fact is that Johnson County already subsidizes school districts throughout the state. Of every K-12 tax dollar collected by the state in Johnson County, only a fraction actually returns to be invested in our schools. Enough is enough. We invest in our schools because we care about our communities and our kids. The taxpayers in other districts need to step up to the plate and start showing the same commitment to their schools and kids with their own tax dollars. I will fight to keep our tax dollars here at home working for our kids.