As Gov. Sam Brownback and Kansas legislators work to solve state’s the current budget problems, it is important to note that Kansans are spending less of their income to fund public education than at any time since the 1980s, according to a new analysis of school finance by the Kansas Association of School Boards.
Policymakers face tough budget decisions this year and next because of tax cuts that have significantly reduced revenue to the state. Public school education funding makes up approximately half of the state budget.
KASB has put together a report so that Kansans can see the status of school funding and put that in perspective with several key economic indicators, such as inflation and Kansas personal income. That report is available online at www.kasb.org/assets/Advocacy/Analysis112414.pdf
“Kansans are proud of their public schools and rightly so. Kansas students routinely perform in the top tier of states and at a higher level than many states that spend more money on education,” said Mark Tallman, associate director for advocacy at the KASB.
During the recently concluded election, candidates for both major political parties emphasized that funding of public schools was their top priority.
“By putting out this report, we want all Kansans to see for themselves the status of school funding and to let their representatives know how they feel about protecting our public schools,” Tallman said.
KASB has vowed to work with Gov. Brownback and the Legislature to properly fund schools so that all students are prepared for successful lives after high school.
Using the November Consensus Revenue Estimate report and new data from the Kansas State Department of Education, as well as historical data from state and local reports, the KASB report found:
Total school spending as a percentage of Kansas Personal Income is at 4.48 percent, the lowest total since 1985.
School districts’ general operating budgets as a percentage of Kansas Personal Income is at its lowest level in at least 40 years.
Since 2010, total spending per pupil has trailed inflation.