Education

Sam Brownback Left Kansas Schools in Worse Shape Than Anyone Knew

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Lawmakers in Kansas have rolled back some of former Governor Sam Brownback's tax cuts that left the state in an inescapable fiscal hole, but they may have to raise taxes again this year.

The state Supreme Court's ruling that Kansas has not been funding education at a level that is constitutional is still an outstanding issue that Brownback failed to resolve before he deployed his parachute and joined the Trump regime.

To that end, the state legislature commissioned a study that calculated how much funding would be necessary to comply with the state Supreme Court's ruling and the numbers the commission came up with were more than anyone anticipated.

TOPEKA -- Kansas schools may need between $1.7 billion and $2 billion in new funding to meet performance targets, according to a highly anticipated report provided to lawmakers.

The figures released Friday shocked lawmakers and others who had expected the report might provide a low figure on school spending. Instead, the study commissioned by legislative leaders says schools need much more to meet student achievement targets. [...]

House Minority Leader Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, said the study shows that more money for schools produces better results. The study proves that schools have been underfunded for years, he said, adding that it will be expensive to fix the problem.

"I will admit that right now. I was not expecting them to come back with a $2.076 billion price tag," he said.

Crucially, the report found that the state must spend at least $400 million more than it currently does just to maintain the state's current status quo, but the status quo is unconstitutional according to the state Supreme Court. It's not clear yet exactly how much additional funding the court would find acceptable.

The state legislature has until April 30th to decide how much additional funding it will appropriate for education. If they fail to meet the deadline, all of the state's public schools could be shut down by the court until a solution is found.

Former Governor Sam Brownback fought the court's ruling for years. You may recall that Brownback threatened to defund the entire state judiciary in retaliation and he signed a bill into law that stripped the state Supreme Court of its authority to appoint judges to lower courts. That bill was struck down by the state Supreme Court.

Brownback fought this losing battle for years while the state's schools were shamefully underfunded. Brownback is currently serving in the Trump regime as an "ambassador for religious freedom," whateverthehell that means.

  • Badgerite

    He really does have one of the most ‘punchable’ faces I have ever seen. When google the term ‘smug’, Brownback’s face should pop up on the screen. His state will be cleaning up the mess he left for a decade.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Would that it were only one decade!

  • Aynwrong

    It really is just cruelty towards their own at this point, isn’t it?

  • muselet

    The only thing surprising about this story is the size of the tab Sam Brownback ran out on.

    My fearless prediction is that legislative Rs will refuse to appropriate additional funding to Kansas schools and will angrily denounce greedy teachers’ unions! for the whole problem.

    –alopecia

  • gescove

    Who could have predicted that massive tax cuts would deprive the state of revenue to fund schools? I’m pretty certain that miraculous economic growth (and, as a result, burgeoning tax receipts) is just around the corner for Kansas. Brownback is better suited to be Ambassador for Inflicting Misery.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    Worse schools mean more poorly-educated adults.
    More poorly-educated adults means more Republican voters.

    It’s not an accident.