Archive for Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Letter: School finance facts

October 16, 2012

To the editor,

You reported in your Oct. 10 article about the 18th District Kansas House race that my opponent, former Democrat State Representative Milack Talia, said: “The Kansas Legislative Research Department has confirmed that in 2011, the Legislature made the largest cut off the base state aid per pupil in Kansas history.”

How disingenuous and misleading! The “2011” cuts in education Mr. Talia refers to were contained in the FY 2011 (July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011) budget for the 2010-2011 school year. The vote on this budget occurred in 2010, when Mr. Talia, not I, served in the Kansas House, and Democrat Mark Parkinson, not Sam Brownback, was governor. In fact, it was Mr. Talia, not I, who voted for these cuts in per-pupil spending that he now complains of, as part of the FY 2011 budget.

For the record, the FY 2009 budget, which funded the 2008-2009 school year, provided base state aid per pupil of $4,400. The FY 2010 budget, funding the 2009-2010 school year, voted for by Mr. Talia during the first year of his term, and approved by the Parkinson administration, cut base state aid per pupil to $4,012. And the FY 2011 budget, funding the 2010-2011 school year, voted for by Mr. Talia during the second year of his term, and approved by Governor Parkinson, reduced base state aid per-pupil again, to $3,937. If my math is right, and it is, that’s a drop of $463 dollars in base state aid per pupil voted on and approved by Mr. Talia during his two years in the House.

By contrast, Gov. Brownback’s first budget, for the 2012 fiscal year, funding the 2011-2012 school year, reduced base state aid per pupil by only $157, far less than the $463 in cuts engineered by the Parkinson administration with the approval and votes of Mr. Talia. And in any event, I voted against the FY 2012 budget. And this year, I voted for and we approved and passed a FY 2013 budget containing funding for the current school year which restored $40 million to base state aid per pupil, resulting in total per pupil spending this year of $12,656, only $4 less than its all time high in the 2008-2009 school year.

John J. Rubin


Milack Talia 6 years, 3 months ago

School Finance Malarkey

In his Oct. 16 letter, State Representative John Rubin completely misstated the facts about cuts to public education during my legislative term. Those budget cuts were made by Gov. Parkinson as allotments when the legislature was NOT in session. I had no way to prevent those cuts, and I did NOT vote for them.

During Mr. Rubin’s term, he voted to slash state funding. He had a choice between giving large tax breaks to a special few or restoring cuts to education. This illustrates a big difference between us: with a $500 million surplus, Mr. Rubin chose to make sure corporations and millionaires received a tax giveaway at the expense of our kids and grandkids. Thanks to Mr. Rubin, the state contributes the same to public education as it did 11 years ago.

Mr. Rubin resorts to smoke and mirrors because he knows voters care about what’s happening to our schools. When he says “total per pupil spending this year of $12,656, only $4 less than its all-time high in the 2008-2009 school year,” he fails to acknowledge local support in that total. That means we’ve raised our own property taxes to fill the deficit created by Mr. Rubin and the Legislature. We shouldn't be forced to make that choice—especially when property taxes have skyrocketed 65% in the last decade. Additionally, he jams together three completely separate budgets: capital funds, which can only be used for building construction and repairs; operating budget, which determines class sizes by limiting the number of teachers a district can hire; and payments to teachers’ retirement accounts.

Mr. Rubin is out-of-touch with the realities facing our children and teachers today. I’ve been going door-to-door since May and too many parents tell me their kids receive fewer resources in the classroom. I and other parents worry about there being 1,364 fewer teachers leading to larger class sizes and declining student performance.

I will do a better job ensuring a high-quality education for every Kansas kid and grandkid. My daughter will attend Shawnee Mission public schools, so I have a vested interest in keeping good teachers and schools. Teachers and parents are standing with me because they know I am the best candidate to protect Kansas public education.

Milack Talia Candidate for State Representative, 18th District


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