More on the 2007 Session

The reviews of the 2007 legislative session continue to come in.

The Kansas City Star (“Gambling top issue decided by Kansas Legislature“) started its story this way: “Millions in tax cuts for businesses, low-income homeowners and the elderly. An ambitious start at health-care reform. And $310 million for university building repairs.” Oh yes, the gambling issue, too.

The Lawrence Journal-World ( “As legislators finish budget, spending worries some“) notes that “The budget increases aid to public schools [by $29.9 million], provides $50 million to help fix crumbling higher education buildings, boosts spending on social services and gives pay raises and bonuses to state employees. It allows the state to expand its prison system and even contains money to keep the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame from closing.”

It further observed that “lawmakers committed to big increases in aid to schools” last year. On the same subject, it says “the budget sets aside $123 million for schools that was promised last year but won’t be spent until fiscal year 2009.”

The increased role of government into the pre-K years continued: “$3 million to expand a state program providing educational services for pre-kindergarten-aged, at-risk children.” On a related topic there was also “$250,000 to expand the Parents as Teachers program under the Department of Education to an additional 595 students.”

The legislature also allocated another $500,000 for a teacher mentoring program. (Isn’t that what the rest of us call “learning the ropes?” Perhaps that should simply be part of the incumbent staff’s job responsibility, without further taxpayer spending.)

The Emporia Gazette offers a Q&A (“Governor: Legislative Session Productive“) . On education, Governor Sebelius had this to say: “The session continued our commitment to excellent education. K-12 education funding is secure and moved ahead early. … The other piece of the puzzle that I put in the budget, and I am hopeful we are both in agreement on, is early childhood education. I know we will have an increase in Head Start money aimed at the most at-risk children, 3- and 4-year-olds. But also we have a number of pilot projects that were funded for the first time this year that have been enormously successful. This year, we sought to triple the number of classroom projects we have. So really a major investment in both early childhood development and higher education are part of the framework this year.”

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