Under My Thumb

The Topeka Capital-Journal adds some color to other reports that the Senate education committee has endorsed a $660 million (extra) plan for schools.

Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer, R-Grinnell, cited as “a token fiscal conservative” on the committee, said of the plan “It’s too expensive.”

Perhaps. But the reason isn’t simply that the dollar amount may strain the budget. It’s that money spent in less than the best fashion is “too expensive.” And in this case, pouring more money into a district-centered approach, rather than a child-centered approach is “too expensive.”

Sen. Barbara Allen, R-Overland Park, spoke about the controversial proposal to raise the cap on the LOB: “I don’t know why the rest of the state wouldn’t want us to tax ourselves.”

Why indeed–though a misguided desire for “equality” may be one reason.

Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, meanwhile, seeks the big coalition approach to dealing with “at-risk” students. One viewpoint is that “at-risk” money should be based on a district’s poverty rates. Another is that the money should be based on the number of students doing poorly on tests. Vratil says “Why not give money to both groups.” His idea was not accepted by the committee.

Finally, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, is calling for more money, with this argument: “We really don’t have a choice. We’re under the court’s thumb,” Morris said.

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