Letter: School finance facts
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