Teachers and students deserve better
I supported fully funding K-12 public education and believe the state needs to be efficient and accountable, just like every other area of government. I also voted to increase funding for special education, mental health and school safety, among other expansions. See what HB 2567 covers in K-12 education.
It's important for taxpayers to know that there are ways to improve education without raising taxes. For example, Kansas school districts have more than $4 billion in unused cash reserves. If even a fraction of that is used, we could avoid cuts everywhere. With education taking 65% of the state budget – and huge increases in spending ordered by the court – we must demand accountability in education spending. Not enough of those dollars are reaching the classroom to help teachers and students. Here's how we can make sure classrooms come first.
Currently, only 53 cents of every tax dollar that is sent to our schools goes to classrooms.* The rest gets swallowed up by administrators and other programs that don’t directly benefit Kansas students.
As your Representative, I will work to make sure more of your tax dollars actually go to the classroom to benefit teachers and students.
We'll improve our schools' effectiveness by getting a larger portion of spending dedicated to "Instruction," defined as direct interaction between students and teachers by the Department of Education. In the 2005 school year, local school boards allocated about 54 percent of all spending to Instruction; it declined to 53 percent by the 2017 school year.
With education taking 65% of the state budget – and huge increases in spending ordered by the court – we must demand accountability in education spending. I'll make sure more of those dollars are reaching the classroom to help teachers and students.
$4 Billion in Cash Reserves -- Why Isn't That Being Used?
Also, districts haven't spent the money they've been given by the Kansas legislature. There's $4+ BILLION in unused funds in the KS Dept. of Education -- these cash reserves hit a new record in 2022. This money can be used by districts to meet teachers' and students' needs.
With a few exceptions, operating cash reserve increases are the result of school districts not spending all of the state and local tax aid they receive to operate schools. If districts used just a fraction of this excess idle funding, your income and property taxes would not be raised again.
Note -- this $4+ billion in unused funds does not include $1.8 billion in unused federal COVID funds. School districts have access to additional funding there, too.
When individuals and families are struggling to make ends meet because of staggering inflation -- and a huge surplus in the Kansas treasury -- we owe it to you to use your money prudently. You can be sure I'll do that.
Sources: Kansas Dept. of Education, KSOpenGov.com
"Other Current Spending" includes transportation, maintenance & operations and food service.