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Testimony – H.B. 2344

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House K – 12 Education Budget Committee H. B. 2344

 Requiring the Adoption of Local Foundation Budgets and the Levying of Local Property Taxes for the Finance Thereof
Testimony submitted by Schools For Fair Funding
Bill Brady
February 17, 2017

Chairman Campbell, Members of the Committee:

Schools For Fair Funding is a coalition of 40 Kansas school districts comprised of 135,241 students, or 30% of the students in Kansas. Thank you for the opportunity to present our views on HB 2344.

We are testifying as an opponent on this bill due to the issues outlined herein. In judging the constitutionality of any school finance bill, the Kansas Constitution is the guidestar. The Kansas Supreme Court has further defined just what our Constitution requires to guide us. Most recently, in the Gannon case, the Court has provided the most detailed articulation of the requirements. There are two components a bill must provide to pass constitutional muster: It must provide for adequacy and equity.

“To determine compliance with the adequacy requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution, Kansas courts apply the test from Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc., 790 S.W.2d 186 (Ky. 1989), which establishes minimal standards for providing adequate education. More specifically, the adequacy requirement is met when the public education financing system provided by the legislature for grades K-12—through structure and implementation—is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the standards set out in Rose….

“To determine compliance with the equity requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution… school districts must have reasonably equal access to substantially similar educational opportunity through similar tax effort.”

HB 2344 must pass these two tests to meet constitutional requirements.

Adequacy. KSDE runs were not available to us at the time that testimony was due, but we believe that this bill would provide decreased, not increased funding to the majority of school districts and there is no consideration of student or district costs or needs. This bill would not meet the Kansas Supreme Court’s adequacy requirement.

State Level Foundation Obligation, Local Foundation Budget and Local Option Budget. Sections 1 and 2 of the bill create a State Level Foundation Obligation, a Local Foundation Budget and a separate Local Option Budget.

The State Level Foundation Obligation is whatever is raised by the statewide 20 mill levy.

The Local Foundation Budget is a pool of unequalized locally levied funds that equal 20% of a district’s former “weighted” enrollment times $5000. This is akin to a former LOB of 20% computed on a base of $5000. There appears to no equalization mechanism for these local funds. The supreme court has held that if local moneys are to be raised, they must be equalized across the state to meet the constitutional equity test. This could be cured by adding an equalization mechanism that mirrors the former LOB equalization mechanism.

The Local Option Budget is an additional unequalized source of local funding. It is up to 5% of a combined State Level Foundation Obligation, Local Foundation Budget.

Any Local Option Budget is capped at the lesser of any prior LOB resolution or 5%. This could mean massive funding reductions for certain districts. It is impossible to know without KSDE runs.

The Local Option Budget amount is grandfathered in at an amount that a school board “was authorized to adopt.” Since the former formula and LOB statutes have been repealed, there are no current resolutions authorizing ANY LOB for any district.

Additionally, if the bill is meant to refer back to prior adopted LOB, then the bill grandfathers every district’s former Local Option Budget into the new scheme. While most districts had a LOB of 30%, the more wealthy districts were able to implement a 33% LOB. Grandfathering this level of LOB for the more wealthy districts does not pass the constitutional equity test. It does not provide “substantially similar educational opportunity.” These districts are grandfathered to a 3% advantage.

LOB Protest petition and election requirement. Section 3 provides for a district to increase its Local Option Budget only by a protest petition and election process. This procedure was found to be unconstitutional by the Gannon trial court as a violation of the equity test. It does not allow equal access to resources.

Election required. Section 3 of the bill requires an election should a district desire to adopt a Local Option Budget between 4% and 5%. This procedure was found to be unconstitutional by the Gannon trial court as a violation of the equity test. It does not allow equal access to resources.

LOB Levy. Section 4 provides that each district will raise any foundation aid not raised by the 20 mill levy and any LOB. There is no equalization provided. This will cause vastly different mill levies between districts. This clearly does not meet the Kansas Supreme Court’s equity test. The effect of this bill is to transfer increased mill levy requirements for education, a state

The effect of this bill is to transfer increased mill levy requirements for education, a state duty and responsibility, to local districts. The constitution and courts have required that local levies be equalized to avoid wealth based disparities. This bill does not accomplish that task.

State level responsibilities should be paid by…. the state. Unfunded mandates are almost
universally disapproved. This is an unfunded mandate and a mandate that unconstitutionally discriminates against less wealthy districts.

Testimony – H.B. 2346

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House K – 12 Education Budget Committee
H. B. 2346

Administration of School District Finance by the State Board of Education
Testimony submitted by Schools For Fair Funding
Bill Brady
February 17, 2017

Chairman Campbell, Members of the Committee:

Schools For Fair Funding is a coalition of 40 Kansas school districts comprised of 135,241 students, or 30% of the students in Kansas. Thank you for the opportunity to present our views on HB 2346.

Schools For Fair funding testifying opposed to this bill due to the issues outlined herein.

In judging the constitutionality of any school finance bill, the Kansas Constitution is the
guidestar. The Kansas Supreme Court has further defined just what our Constitution requires to guide us. Most recently, in the Gannon case, the Court has provided the most detailed articulation of the requirements. There are two components a bill must provide to pass constitutional muster: It must provide for adequacy and equity.

“To determine compliance with the adequacy requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution, Kansas courts apply the test from Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc., 790 S.W.2d 186 (Ky. 1989), which establishes minimal standards for providing adequate education. More specifically, the adequacy requirement is met when the public education financing system provided by the legislature for grades K-12—through structure and implementation—is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the standards set out in Rose….”

“To determine compliance with the equity requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution… school districts must have reasonably equal access to substantially
similar educational opportunity through similar tax effort.”

HB 2346 must pass these two tests to meet constitutional requirements.

Responsibility shift to State Board of Education. The bill shifts total responsibility for the allocation of school district finance to the State Board of Education. While this is a constitutionally mandated elected body of ten members whose sole function is to supervise the schools, by its nature and number, it is less representative than 165 representatives and senators together with the governor. Schools, teachers and patrons would have much more opportunity for input and redress with their representatives, senators and governor than with only ten State Board of Education members. Additionally, the bill retains the appropriation duty with the legislature and governor. Shifting the allocation duty to the State Board of Education does nothing to solve the underappropriation of resources for the schools that has occurred. The court
decisions in Gannon specifically found that the problem was NOT with the manner in which resources were allocated under the formula, the problem was with not enough resources being appropriated by the legislature. This bill would not fix the problem.

School District State Aid insufficient. Section 1 of the bill sets forth state aid to school districts in the amount of $4.075M. This does not appear to be an increase in resources.

The Gannon trial court suggested that in 2012 dollars the base should be increased from $3852 to $4980 to meet adequacy requirements. At a 2.5% rate of inflation this base would increase at the rate of $125 per pupil per year. This equates to a base of $5730 in 2018 dollars. Doing away with the base and still appropriating the same total funds will not solve the adequacy requirement.

It would appear that HB 2346 is roughly $1B short. The courts have recognized and applied inflation factors to education funding to maintain adequacy. This bill does not appear to pass the adequacy test according to the trial court in Gannon. This could be cured by increasing the appropriation amount in the bill.

Grandfathering LOB amounts. Section 8 of the bill grandfathers every district’s former Local Option Budget into the new scheme. While most districts had a LOB of 30%, the more wealthy districts were able to implement a 33% LOB. Grandfathering this level of LOB for the more wealthy districts does not pass the constitutional equity test. It does not provide “substantially similar educational opportunity.” These districts are grandfathered to a 3% advantage. The bill provides no methodology for districts to increase their LOB in future years. This locks in the inequity moving forward. This could be cured by simply allowing all districts to adopt a 33% LOB should they so choose.

Declining Enrollment Levy not equalized. Section 10 provides that districts with declining enrollment may levy additional funds, but this levy has not been equalized in the past and there are no additional funds appropriated that could cover this. This is an equity test violation. This can be cured by adding an equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Ancillary Levy not equalized. Section 11 provides that districts with new facilities may levy additional funds, but this levy has not been equalized in the past and there are no additional funds appropriated that could cover this. This is an equity test violation. This can be cured by adding an equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Cost of living levy protest petition and election requirement. Section 12 provides that cost of living levy be subject to the protest petition and election requirement. This procedure for LOB was found to be unconstitutional by the Gannon trial court as a violation of the equity test. It does not allow equal access to resources. This can be cured by simply making cost of living levy available upon board of education resolution.

Cost of living levy not equalized. Section 12 provides for a cost of living levy, however the cost of living levy, but this levy is has not been equalized in the past and there are no additional funds appropriated that could cover this. This is an equity test violation. This can be cured by adopting an equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization for these levies.

Testimony – H. B. 2324

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House K – 12 Education Budget Committee -H. B. 2324

School District Finance and Quality Performance Act of 2017
Testimony submitted by Schools For Fair Funding
Bill Brady
February 16, 2017

Chairman Campbell, Members of the Committee:

Schools For Fair Funding is a coalition of 40 Kansas school districts comprised of 135,241 students, or 30% of the students in Kansas. Thank you for the opportunity to present our views on HB 2324.

This bill was introduced 8 days ago and as of the deadline for testimony, KSDE runs were not available. It is difficult to do a full analysis without adequate time and printouts showing the effects of the bill, but outlined herein are the issues we found.

While we are testifying neutral on this bill due to the issues outlined herein, there are many aspects of the bill that are a vast improvement over the block grant system. We urge that the bill be adjusted to cure the following issues and that it be moved forward. If the following issues are not cured, we cannot support the bill.

In judging the constitutionality of any school finance bill, the Kansas Constitution is the guide star. The Kansas Supreme Court has further defined just what our Constitution requires to guide us. Most recently, in the Gannon case, the Court has provided the most detailed articulation of the requirements. There are two components a bill must provide to pass constitutional muster: It must provide for adequacy and equity.

“To determine compliance with the adequacy requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution, Kansas courts apply the test from Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc., 790 S.W.2d 186 (Ky. 1989), which establishes minimal standards for providing adequate education. More specifically, the adequacy requirement is met when the public education financing system provided by the legislature for grades K-12—through structure and implementation—is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the standards set out in Rose….”

“To determine compliance with the equity requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution… school districts must have reasonably equal access to substantially similar educational opportunity through similar tax effort.”

HB 2324 must pass these two tests to meet constitutional requirements.

Foundation aid. Section 4 of the bill sets forth an increasing amount of Foundation Aid each year from $4082 per pupil in FY18 to $5000 in FY21. The Gannon trial court found this amount of “base” to be close. The trial court suggested that in 2012 dollars the base should be set at $4980 to meet adequacy requirements. At a 2.5% rate of inflation this base would increase at the rate of $125 per pupil per year. This equates to a base or Foundation amount of $5730 in 2018 dollars. It would appear that HB 2324 is roughly $730 per pupil short in FY21, after being fully phased in. While stated amounts in court decisions and the bill may be close, the courts have recognized and applied inflation factors to education funding to maintain adequacy. This bill does not appear to pass the adequacy test according to the trial court in Gannon. This can be cured by increasing the foundation aid amounts in the bill.

Grandfathering LOB amounts. Section 15 of the bill grandfathers every district’s former Local Option Budget into the new scheme. While most districts had a LOB of 30%, the more wealthy districts were able to implement a 33% LOB. Grandfathering this level of LOB for the more wealthy districts does not pass the constitutional equity test. It does not provide “substantially similar educational opportunity.” These districts are grandfathered to a 3% advantage. This could be cured by simply allowing all districts to adopt a 33% LOB should they so choose.

LOB Protest petition and election requirement. Section 15 provides for a district to increase its Local Option Budget only by a protest petition and election process. This procedure was found to be unconstitutional by the Gannon trial court as a violation of the equity test. It does not allow equal access to resources. This could be cured by simply allowing the adoption of LOB by local board resolution and vote.

LOB State Aid second preceding school year assessed valuation per pupil. Section 17 of the bill provides that the Local Option Budget should be equalized according to a formula that uses the assessed valuation per pupil (AVPP) from the second preceding school year. The prior court approved procedure was simply to use the past year’s AVPP. By moving to an AVPP from two years preceding, it may provide better planning for budgeting purposes, but it does so at the expense of delaying LOB equalization for districts with shrinking valuations. If a district is losing valuation, they should be entitled to more state equalization to balance out the declining valuation. Using a stale AVPP hurts these districts by delaying their required equalization. By the same token, if a district has increasing valuation, the stale AVPP allows them to retain equalization payments when they are no longer warranted. Delay of equalization or continuation of unwarranted equalization does not provide equal access to resources or similar tax effort and
violates the equity test. This could be cured by returning to use of the prior year AVPP.

Proration of Local Option Budget equalization. Section 17 provides that the state board shall prorate down any LOB equalization payments if the amount appropriated for LOB state aid is insufficient. This places the burden of filling a state budget hole solely on the less wealthy districts who receive LOB state aid. This practice was specifically found to be unconstitutional by the Kansas Supreme Court in Gannon. This can be cured by backfilling any underappropriation of LOB state aid by a transfer from moneys appropriated for Foundation aid. If Foundation aid is thereby underappropriated, Foundation aid could be prorated and ALL districts would share the pain. This may be an adequacy violation but would be closer to meeting the equity test.

Ancillary Levy not equalized. Section 33 provides that districts with new facilities may levy additional funds, but this local levy is not equalized. This is an equity test violation. This can be cured by adding an equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Cost of living levy protest petition and election requirement. Section 34 provides that cost of living levy be subject to the protest petition and election requirement. This violates the equity test. See discussion above. Additionally, cost of living levy is not equalized which is another equity test violation. This can be cured by simply making cost of living levy available upon board of education resolution and equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Declining Enrollment Levy not equalized and only available to districts with a 31% LOB.
Section 35 provides that districts with declining enrollment may levy additional funds, but this levy is not equalized. This is an equity test violation. In addition, only districts with an LOB of 31% are eligible for this levy, and the 31% LOB is not attainable for some districts due to the protest petition requirement. This can be cured with the changes to LOB outlined above and by adding an equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Capital Outlay State Aid second preceding school year assessed valuation per pupil. Section 50 of the bill provides that capital outlay equalization be provided based upon a formula that uses the assessed valuation per pupil (AVPP) from the second preceding school year. See discussion above concerning LOB. This is an equity violation. This could be cured by returning to use of the prior year AVPP.

Testimony HB 2270

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House K – 12 Budget Committee
H. B. 2270 Education Finance Act
Testimony submitted by Schools For Fair Funding
Bill Brady
February 15, 2017

Chairman Campbell, Members of the Committee:

Schools For Fair Funding is a coalition of 40 Kansas school districts comprised of 135,241 students, or 30% of the students in Kansas. Thank you for the opportunity to present our views on HB 2270.

While we are testifying neutral on this bill due to the issues outlined herein, there are many aspects of the bill that are a vast improvement over the block grant system. We urge that the bill be adjusted to cure the following issues and that it be moved forward. If the following issues are not cured, we cannot support the bill.

In judging the constitutionality of any school finance bill, the Kansas Constitution is the guidestar. The Kansas Supreme Court has further defined just what our Constitution requires to guide us. Most recently, in the Gannon case, the Court has provided the most detailed articulation of the requirements. There are two components a bill must provide to pass constitutional muster: It must provide for adequacy and equity.

“To determine compliance with the adequacy requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution, Kansas courts apply the test from Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc., 790 S.W.2d 186 (Ky. 1989), which establishes minimal standards for providing adequate education. More specifically, the adequacy requirement is met when the public education financing system provided by the legislature for grades K-12—through structure and implementation—is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the standards set out in Rose….

“To determine compliance with the equity requirement in Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution… school districts must have reasonably equal access to substantially
similar educational opportunity through similar tax effort.”

HB 2270 must pass these two tests to meet constitutional requirements.

Foundation aid. Section 4 of the bill sets forth an increasing amount of Foundation Aid each year from $4253 per pupil in FY18 to $4895 in FY21. The Gannon trial court found this amount of “base” to be close. The trial court suggested that in 2012 dollars the base should be set at $4980 to meet adequacy requirements. At a 2.5% rate of inflation this base would increase at the rate of $125 per pupil per year. This equates to a base or Foundation amount of $5730 in 2018 dollars. It would appear that HB 2270 is roughly $835 per pupil short in FY21, after being fully phased in. While stated amounts in court decisions and the bill may be close, the courts have recognized and applied inflation factors to education funding to maintain adequacy. This bill does not appear to pass the adequacy test according to the trial court in Gannon. This can be cured by increasing the foundation aid amounts in the bill.

Grandfathering LOB amounts. Section 15 of the bill grandfathers every district’s former Local Option Budget into the new scheme. While most districts had a LOB of 30%, the more wealthy districts were able to implement a 33% LOB. Grandfathering this level of LOB for the more wealthy districts does not pass the constitutional equity test. It does not provide “substantially similar educational opportunity.” These districts are grandfathered to a 3% advantage. This could be cured by simply allowing all districts to adopt a 33% LOB should they so choose.

LOB Protest petition and election requirement. Section 15 provides for a district to increase its Local Option Budget only by a protest petition and election process. This procedure was found to be unconstitutional by the Gannon trial court as a violation of the equity test. It does not allow equal access to resources. This could be cured by simply allowing the adoption of LOB by local board resolution and vote.

LOB Three year average assessed valuation per student. Section 17 of the bill provides that the Local Option Budget should be equalized according to a formula that uses a three year average of assessed valuation per student (AVPS). The prior court approved procedure was simply to use the past year’s AVPP. By moving to a three year average, it may remove perceived volatility in AVPS, but it does so at the expense of delaying LOB equalization for districts with shrinking valuations. If a district is losing valuation, they should be entitled to more state equalization to balance out the declining valuation. Using a three year average hurts these districts by delaying their required equalization until their three year average adjusts. By the same token, if a district has increasing valuation, the three year average allows them to retain equalization payments when they are no longer warranted until their three year average catches up. Delay of equalization or continuation of unwarranted equalization does not provide equal access to resources or similar tax effort and violates the equity test. This could be cured by returning to use of the prior single year AVPS.

Proration of Local Option Budget equalization. Section 17 provides that the state board shall prorate down any LOB equalization payments if the amount appropriated for LOB state aid is insufficient. This places the burden of filling a state budget hole solely on the less wealthy districts who receive LOB state aid. This practice was specifically found to be unconstitutional by the Kansas Supreme Court in Gannon. This can be cured by backfilling any underappropriation of LOB state aid by a transfer from moneys appropriated for Foundation aid. If Foundation aid is thereby under appropriated, Foundation aid could be prorated and ALL districts would share the pain. This may be an adequacy violation but would be closer to meeting the equity test.

LOB equalization paid on prior year LOB. Section 17 provides that LOB equalization aid will be paid on the prior year’s LOB rate. This does not pay equalization on any increases in LOB and delays that equalization for a year. Interestingly, if a district abolished its LOB in any certain year, it would still receive LOB state aid that year. This is a violation of the equity test. This can be cured by paying LOB state aid on the current year’s LOB amount.

Low income (at-risk) weight moved to census measure rather than free lunch measure.
Section 26 of the bill moves calculation of low-income weight from the current free lunch measure to a census-based measure after two years. While a census based measuring stick may be appropriate under certain circumstances, the bill sets the amount of the weight at a significantly reduced factor. The bill reduces total statewide at-risk funding by approximately $63M to $73M. Over 240 of the state’s 286 school districts will receive less at-risk funding under census based measurement. It sets the weight using census at a multiple of 2.0 times current at risk weight. The actual current at risk to census multiplier is approximately 2.85 times. This change to census based weight removes funding from the exact students that have been shown to NOT be performing to standards. This does not provide substantially similar opportunity to at-risk kids. This violates the equity test. This can be cured by retaining free lunch as the measuring stick.

Ancillary Levy not equalized. Section 31 provides that districts with new facilities may levy additional funds, but this local levy is not equalized. This is an equity test violation. This can be cured by adding an equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Cost of living levy protest petition and election requirement. Section 32 provides that cost of living levy be subject to the protest petition and election requirement. This violates the equity test. See discussion above. Additionally, cost of living levy is not equalized which is another equity test violation. This can be cured by simply making cost of living levy available upon board of education resolution and equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Declining Enrollment Levy not equalized and only available to districts with a 31% LOB.
Section 33 provides that districts with declining enrollment may levy additional funds, but this levy is not equalized. This is an equity test violation. In addition, only districts with an LOB of 31% are eligible for this levy, and the 31% LOB is not attainable for some districts due to the protest petition requirement. This can be cured with the changes to LOB outlined above and by adding an equalization scheme that mirrors LOB equalization.

Capital outlay equalization three year average assessed valuation per student. Section 49 provides that capital outlay equalization be provided based upon a three-year average assessed valuation per student. See discussion above concerning LOB. This is an equity violation. This could be cured by returning to use of the prior single year AVPS.

Capital outlay equalization aid paid only if at least 4 mills levied. Section 49 provides that capital outlay equalization aid will only be paid if a district levies at least 4 mills of capital outlay. This is a clear violation of the equity test. If local moneys are to be allowed, they must be equalized. This can be cured by removing this requirement.

Allocating and/or prorating capital improvements (bond and interest) equalization aid. Section 97 contains a limit on bond and interest equalization aid at the “six-year average” of bond and interest aid paid over past years. This artificial limit on paying equalization aid to poorer districts violates the equity test. The section also has an allocation system to pay reduced amounts of equalization aid if the six-year average is exceeded. Both of these procedures allow local moneys to be used without proper equalization. The equity test requires equal access to substantially similar educational opportunity through similar tax effort. This bond and interest equalization scheme attempts to limit equalization payments. It does not effect wealthy districts and disadvantages less wealthy districts. This can be cured by adopting an equalization scheme akin to LOB equalization or capital outlay equalization and appropriating sufficient funding to operate the system. Shortfalls could be charged to the foundation aid fund requiring ALL districts to share the pain of under appropriation.

What a 5% cut means per student in your district.

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Education cuts concept. Teacher's apple sliced in half.

No matter how you slice SB27 it isn’t good for Kansas kids.

School districts must have: reasonably equal access to substantially similar educational opportunity through similar tax effort

A cuts bill with per pupil differences like shown clearly violates this test.  Find out how much per student your district will lose by clicking the link below.

991282a-5-percent-cut-with-per-pupil-calculation

How will the cuts impact your schools?

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Budget cuts, Education, with scissors, isolated on white

The Senate Ways and Means Committee passed out of committee Substitute for Senate Bill 27 (rescission bill) this morning containing reductions in K-12 funding for the current school year of five percent in general state aid.  Attached is a computer printout prepared by legislative staff which provides the effects of reducing general state aid by five percent for each school district. Use the link below:

991281-rescission-bill-sb-27-ksde-reductions-memo

IMMEDIATE CALLS NEEDED

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speak-up-for-kansas-kids

Immediate calls are needed on Senate bills. These bills passed out of their respective Senate committees today and are being rushed to a vote, probably Thursday. This is complicated by the fact that the Senate has linked its action in three bills, a “cuts” bill, a “borrowing” bill and an “income tax increase” bill.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee this morning passed out a rescission bill and a companion measure that are projected to virtually eliminate the current fiscal year deficit which is between $330 million and $350 million. The combination of the Rescission Bill and the Pooled Money Investment Borrowing bill would produce a total of about $343 million for the current fiscal year, enough to meet the projected shortfall and produce an ending balance of as much as $75 million. However, there are critical problems with these bills.

Rescission bill.

This is the “cuts” bill. The rescission bill cuts K-12 funding for the current fiscal year by 5%, or about $128 million; higher education by 3%, or about $23 million, and picks up another $3 million in small cuts from a wide variety of agencies. The bill also delays repayment of KPERS for state money borrowed last year, worth maybe $90 million in savings this year.

This is the Senate’s attempt to balance the current year budget due to inadequate revenues. It violates the promise by the legislature when it abolished the school finance formula that the block grant funding, although reduced, would be protected and would not be cut. Kansans overwhelmingly support funding for the schools and do not support these cuts. We would urge that the Rescission Bill be opposed for this reason.

Pooled Money Investment borrowing bill.

This is the “borrowing” bill. A companion proposal would borrow $100 million this fiscal year in state idle funds managed by the Pooled Money Investment Board for repayment over four years.

The Pooled Money Investment borrowing bill is yet another one-time funding trick. While we abhor the one-time gimmicks that have backfilled the budgets since the income tax cuts in 2012, at this late point in the year, the only solution is to once again use a one-time source of funds rather than cut the schools. The problem with this bill is that it does not go far enough. There are adequate funds in the Pooled Money Investment Fund to backfill the budget without cuts to the schools. The amount of the borrowing needs to increase until they can fix the revenue stream with adjustments to taxes.

The income tax bill.

This is the “income tax increase” bill. A Senate committee also forwarded to the entire senate an increased income tax plan. It eliminates the so-called LLC exemption and modestly raises all income tax rates. The problem is that it does not go far enough in raising revenue. This revenue package does NOT fix the structural imbalance of revenues not meeting expenses. The only way it happens to work is when it is linked to the 5% school cuts and borrowing bills above. IT DOES NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM. Future budgets will STILL be out of balance with inadequate revenues to support the state. Insist on a solution that is actually a solution, not a band-aid.

Please oppose all three of these bills and send them back to committee.

Please call your legislators.  You can find their contact information HERE.

Tell them this:

This trio of bills is unacceptable and does not fix the state’s structural budget deficit.

  1. Please fix the state budget problem without cutting K-12 education.
  1. While distasteful, please borrow more from the Pooled Money Investment Fund to get out of the current budget year. It is distasteful, but does not hurt kids.
  1. No one wants their taxes to go up, but it will be necessary to raise funds to balance our state budget. Otherwise budget problems are going to just continue into future years.

Please vote no on these bills. There is time to craft a responsible plan. They can and must do better.

Please do all that you can to get in touch with your legislator(s) this evening and tomorrow. An entire generation of Kansas kids are counting on you!!