Monday, March 29, 2010

I Don't Understand

I realize the legislature is in charge of my state and the educational funding but the longer they are in session the scarier it gets for all state agencies. For instance some of my concerns or I should say lack of understanding about what is occurring in Topeka:
Why does the House put a person in charge of the Education Committee that home schools their children-thats a commitment to public education.

Why would you even propose a plan to cut the state to 40 districts with at least 10,000 students per district? What other state does this?

Why would tell people the recession is what caused our financial collapse when the legislative post audit showed in 2005 (prior to recession) that we would face this deficit in 2009 because of tax rollbacks and spending levels.

Why would you pass a law where schools could not sue for adequate funding, not fund the supreme court decision to the level you were bound to do, but let one of your members be involved with suing the state as a part of his law firm.

When you run for reelection and tell the voters you did not raise taxes, will you admit that you forced the schools to raise property taxes because you took away 25% of the state aid for the local option budget? I rather doubt it.

I don't understand why we would send any of you back.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Big Schools are Better?

With all the talk of school consolidation in Topeka, I decided to do some research on quality of education as opposed to cost. I first got the KSHSAA list of school classifications then went to the KSDE website to get information on what schools did not make AYP last year. Private schools are not included in these statistics.
34 Districts in our state did not make AYP in 2009

There are 15 districts in 6A 7 did not make AYP or 47%
There are 20 districts in 5A 4 did not make AYP or 20%
There are 59 districts in 4A 12 did not make AYP or 21%

So 88% of the 34 districts come from our largest classifications

There were 172 individual schools that did not make AYP 146 of those came from districts of 1600 students or more which is 85%.

If quality of education matters to our legislative leaders maybe we should make schools smaller instead of larger.

I have sent this information to our legislative representatives.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Don't Fence Them In

This is an editorial from Saturdays KC Star:

The conventional wisdom in Kansas has been that school district consolidation doesn't save much money: Districts get so spread out that transportation costs eat up any savings.

But in these desperate budget times, auditors have suggested two scenarios that save a bit. One would decrease funding for 25 school districts with fewer than 400 students and smaller than 200 square miles. That plan would save an estimated $18 million, about 5 percent of the expected budget shortfall for 2011. Education officials say it's tantamount to closing schools, and they're not sure it reflects all the additional travel costs, ad losses of property value.

The other plan would consolidate districts with fewer than 1,600 students and could save $138 million, about a third of the budget shortfall.

But legislators should be careful. In at least one section of western Kansas, getting up to 1,600 students would mean creating a school district the size of a combined Rhode Island and Delaware.

The lesson: Stop toying about at the edges, legislators, and get to work repealing sales tax exemptions.