School finance malarkey
To the editor,
In his recent letter, State Rep. 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, Rubin chose to make sure corporations and millionaires received a tax giveaway at the expense of our kids and grandkids. Thanks to 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 the Legislature. We shouldn’t be forced to make that choice — especially when property taxes have skyrocketed 65 percent in the last decade. Additionally, he jams together three 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.