Letter to the Editor 3-28-14

Dear Editor,
 The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled and the Legislature is to find $129 million this year to begin meeting State Statutes to adequately fund public education. So what did the Democrats in the House do? 
 Under the leadership of Representative Paul Davis, they presented a solution that would restore the $129 million and provide property tax relief. The Republicans under the leadership of Marc Rhoades presented a bill which would restore the $129 million with anti-public education proposals attached. Representative Rhoades proposed giving tuition tax credits to corporations which would result in a $10 million loss in tax revenue, allow charter schools to receive public education funds but no regulations or rules, expand “innovative schools”, eliminate teacher licensure requirements for Science and Math, and allow school principals to give bonuses to whomever they want. According to the Commissioner of Education there may be a possible violation of federal guidelines which may cost the state federal dollars. This is an agenda item of ALEC and their plan is to destroy public education and create an environment of private, for profit, schools. Many members of the House and Senate belong to ALEC and vote their agenda, not their constituents. Should we remind Mr. Rhoades, a member of ALEC, that we are already struggling to adequately fund public education and he is proposing more cuts. Don’t you wonder why the Legislature is addressing these issues when we elect a State Board of Education who have extensive educational backgrounds? Kansas is funding Base State Aid Per Pupil (BSAPP) near the 1992-93 level. In 1992 the cost of a gallon of gas was $1.13 and a Big Mac from McDonalds was $1. 
 According to State Statutes, BSAPP in 2014 should be $4492 and it is at $3838. Brownback has not added new dollars to public education in the past two years and in fact Governor Brownback signed into law the largest cut to public education in history taking $270 million since fiscal year 2009. It is simple Arithmetic; your child’s education is being shorted so we can give hefty tax breaks to his pals, large corporations. The $129 million will undoubtedly come from the remaining surplus created when Governor Parkinson signed into law the one cent sales tax which was scheduled to sunset in 2013. This created a $700 million surplus which Brownback has tried to take credit for but all he has done is dip into the surplus. 
  Members of ALEC can be found at www.sourcewatch.org
                                                                     Shelley Dunham
                                                                       Council Grove


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