More Money is Not Enough

After the history of spending increases in the last decade, after the court-required spending increases of the last few years, will the Kansas Legislature decide that what schools need is … still more money?

From the Wichita Eagle of January 9 (“Senate leaders talk school-funding hike“):

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday proposed extending the state’s education funding law to 2010 with a $65 million increase for public schools.

The proposal would increase spending by 2.2 percent, meeting a state mandate that future increases match the increase in the Consumer Price Index. The increase equates to a $59 increase in the base aid for each student, with $37 million going to school districts and $28 million going for related increases in contributions to their employees’ pensions.

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt of Independence, Senate Vice President John Vratil of Leawood, and Education Committee Chairwoman Jean Schodorf of Wichita offered the proposal.

Now that the “adequate education” argument has run its course (for now), the latest argument is that the state needs to increase its spending in order to attract teachers:

[Education Commissioner Alexa Posny estimates] 42 percent of teachers leave after the first seven years. Another 32 percent will be able to retire in the next five years.

The concern for getting a sufficient number of teachers is most obvious in high school math and science. Why not allow some differential pay to attract those people? Across-the-board increases will only take money away from packages that could attract teachers where they are most needed.

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