By Wichita Eagle, Sept. 19
Here’s a national ranking that should embarrass our state: Kansas has cut funding for K-12 public schools more than all but two states.
In inflation-adjusted dollars, state aid is $950 per pupil less now than it was in 2008, according to a study by the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. Only Alabama and Wisconsin cut more funding per pupil.
As a percentage, Kansas’ education spending is down 16.5 percent since 2008. That’s the fourth-highest drop, behind only Oklahoma at 22.8 percent, Alabama at 20.1 percent and Arizona at 17.2 percent.
The Great Recession caused most of the cutting, which was understandable. But unlike many other states, Kansas has not moved to restore funding as the economy has improved, deciding instead to cut taxes.
A three-judge panel ruled earlier this year that school funding was unconstitutionally low and that the state needed to increase it by more than $400 million. The Kansas Supreme Court likely will reach the same conclusion later this year.
Is it any wonder why the state loses these lawsuits?