What’s all the fuss about funding? While throwing money at a problem doesn’t fix it, failing to adequately fund the Kansas public education system will have devastating short and long-term consequences for all Kansans.

Funding cuts in Kansas

Recent studies show that Kansas education funding has not returned to pre-recession levels, despite school funding litigation that has resulted in mandated funding levels.  While we await a decision on the adequacy portion of the Gannon case, it is important to understand that operating budgets for schools have been cut while Kansas schools have seen a 30% increase in the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches and a 10% increase in English Language Learners.  As an example, in response to budget cuts from the state legislature in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, Shawnee Mission School District

  • Raised the class size cap
  • Eliminated funding for new books in libraries
  • Reduced administrative staff
  • Reduced over 400 employees including regular teaching staff and special education staff, Closed an enhanced learning center and reduced EL staff
  • Raised bus fees
  • Raised full-day kindergarten fees
  • Instituted an activity fee at the high schools
  • Reduced janitorial staffing and reduced classroom cleaning from daily to once every 3 days

What would SMSD do with increased funding?  It would undo many of the recent cuts and it would

  • Develop and implement new academic programs
  • Provide early education programs
  • Raise staff compensation (they have not had a raise since 2009-2010)
  • Hire elementary and middle school counselors
  • Provide adequate technology support
  • Provide social worker support for homeless students

Funding for operating expenses has been cut, and funding does matter.

Further Reading