Wednesday, 2/11/15, Public Square



by | February 11, 2015 · 6:00 am

13 responses to “Wednesday, 2/11/15, Public Square


    If this is an indication of how smart and intelligent Jeb Bush is during a major campaign – then, all I can say is – Pass the Popcorn.

  2. Listen to Richard Crowson sing a ditty he wrote. 🙂 His voice is clear but the lyrics are there to follow along if you choose.

  3. This is an excellent explanation of school funding in Kansas —

    From USD 336 School Superintendent Dennis Stones:

    Dear Colleagues and Community Members:

    Several people have approached me with questions about the Governor’s recent funding cuts. The Governor wants us to believe the cuts are due to school funding being “out of control” and that these cuts are simply a reduction of last year’s increase. That might be true for the state, but this is mostly false for school districts. I will attempt to explain this issue.

    School finance is complicated for good reasons. Our system is set up to ensure the quality of a child’s education is not determined by a student’s zip code or school district’s wealth. Also, some students, such as those who are labeled “at-risk”, sometimes require different programs that are more expensive.

    To summarize:

    1. For many, if not most, school districts, last year’s Kansas Supreme Court ruling, as well as the resulting new law, did not increase their revenue; rather, it only reduced their local property taxes. USD 336 would have been able to reduce the overall tax requirement to operate the district by approximately 14 mills, but since we are in the beginning of a bond issue for the new Holton Elementary School, we increased about 7 mills. The bond issue state reimbursement aid is not being affected by the governor’s reductions. That part of the law is still in effect.

    2. Last year’s increases were for “equalization” funding and were ordered by the Kansas Supreme Court. Equalization refers to giving more funding to poorer school districts. School districts build their budget solely based on state law that is passed by the legislature.

    3. The Governor’s reduction in the Base State Aid per Pupil (BSAPP) this last week is not equalization funding and will reduce all school district funding by 1.5%, regardless of any impact from last year’s equalization changes.

    4. The Supreme Court will rule about “adequacy” separately, probably next year. Adequacy refers to overall funding. Reducing the BSAPP reduced adequacy.

    What does equalization mean as it pertains to school funding? I will attempt to explain how it works with local property taxes. Some districts can raise a substantial amount of money with one mill of property tax (a mill is $1 of tax for $1,000 of assessed property value) and some can generate very little. For example, the highest property wealth school district per student in Kansas is Burlington that, because of the Wolf Creek power plant, garners about $480,000 per student for each mill. The poorest school district per student in Kansas is Galena, which receives about $20,000 per mill. USD 336 ranks 162nd out 186 districts in terms of wealth per student. We can generate $33,185.00 in General Fund (GF) and $37,889.00 in all other funds per student.

    Therefore, under current law, the state is required to offset the wealth disparity by “equalizing” three locally financed funds: Local Option Budget (LOB), Capital Outlay, and Bond and Interest (B&I). B&I is the only fund not affected by the reductions at this time.

    As a result of the recession and large income tax cuts, the state of Kansas stopped equalizing districts as much. When that happened, poorer school districts had to make up for that loss with more local property taxes. Essentially, local property taxes replaced state income taxes.

    Last year, the Kansas Supreme Court ordered those equalization funds to be reinstated and the legislature passed such a law. When that happened, state funding once again replaced local property taxes, but school districts did not necessarily receive more money to operate their schools.

    The main locally financed school district fund is called the Local Option Budget (LOB). Originally, the LOB was created to supplement state funding for extra programs desired by local school districts. As a result of state cuts to school district’s general funds, the LOB has become a crucial fund for the day-to-day operations of school districts. The state began reducing equalization for LOB several years ago, so school districts had to make up for that with local property taxes.

    Please note that the LOB is calculated only after the General Fund (GF) has been calculated. A school district’s General Fund is mostly made up of state funding called the Base State Aid Per Pupil (BSAPP). At its highest point in 2008, the BSAPP was $4,400; last August, school districts calculated their GF based on $3,852. The Governor’s reduction this week lowered the BSAPP by about $42 to about $3,810, which is about the same level as budget year 2000. If the BSAPP had simply kept up with inflation since its creation, it would now be about $6,059.

    Since some students are more expensive to educate than others, the GF also includes “weightings,” which adds to the amount of funding school districts receive. For example, weightings provide more funding for students who are transported by school bus, qualify for free lunches, and take vocational classes. One weighting actually reduces funding: Kindergarten students only count as 50% of the BSAPP, so we have to make up the rest in order to have full-day Kindergarten.

    The LOB can only be 30% of the GF without holding an election. Therefore, when the new law restored equalization to the LOB, school districts, the majority of which were already at the maximum, could only reduce local property taxes. They didn’t gain any new funding to operate schools. The law also allowed districts to raise that maximum to 33% of the GF if they held a mail-in ballot election. USD 336 chose not to do this.
    The other local fund impacted by recent cuts was Capital Outlay.

    Previously, this fund could only be used to purchase equipment and maintain buildings, but the new law also allows districts to pay custodians and maintenance personnel from this fund. The maximum mill levy for Capital Outlay is 8 mills. Equalization for this fund was completely stopped several years ago, but it was restored as a result of the Supreme Court decision and the resulting new law. Holton is scheduled to receive around $186,000 above local taxes in state aid this fiscal year. USD 336 utilizes this fund to repair buildings, as well as pay lease/purchases payments on the new addition at the High School. These payments equate to $272,000.00 per year. We have nine payments left to make.
    The other equalized fund is Bond and Interest, which is used to make payments for bond issue projects. At this time, equalization for this fund has not been reduced.

    Therefore, USD 336’s budget will be reduced by approximately $70,000.00 on March 7, 2015. This will be done through allotments as ordered by the Governor. I have made budget adjustments by reducing the transfers that were planned in the budget for this year to renovate the auditorium at the High School. It is my fear that this is not the last adjustment that USD 336 will need to make this year by reducing reserves. We are fortunate that previous USD 336 Boards of Education had the foresight to build some reserve funds. I have also asked the principals and directors to only purchase what is really necessary.

    I am also reminded that in September 2014, prior to the elections, Governor Brownback sat across the table at Central Elementary School and guaranteed me there would not be any cuts to education this year. I didn’t believe him then because of the monthly shortfall in state revenues, and he has now proven me to be correct.

    Please feel free to come and see me if you have any questions. I truly appreciate the willingness of the entire staff to continue educating all students at a high level and the support of the community to offer a quality school system for their children.

    Dennis R. Stones, Superintendent USD 336

  4. Heee there you go again trying to confuse the spin with facts! Don’t you know the hard line RINOS do not like facts that do not support their views of how bad things are going under a Liberal? Nothing really new to report on Joyce. She is resting on the couch upstairs since she did not sleep well last night. Waiting to start Chemo therapy in the near future, OMG such things seem to take longer then you ever want them too.

  5. prairiepond

    Did you all see this? National news today.

    The backlash comes. This is my interpretation of what pastor sam is saying to the lgbt residents of brownbackistan.

    “So… nice little marriages you have here. Be a shame if something happened to them. Like, losing your job, your house, and, well everything. Go ahead. Get married. We won’t recognize it, let you change your name on official documents, give you equal benefits, or let you legally adopt a partner’s biological children. But, hey. If SCOTUS says you can get married, we’ll work with it. But it would be a shame to see your family burn down after all your fornicating….”

    Kansas. As bigoted as you think.

    • I suspect Sammy did this to keep his targeted sheeple in line for when he announces he plans to run for president.

      Gotta keep those self-righteous sheeple all riled up – you know. Don’t let the sheeple get any inkling to who is behind that curtain pulling the strings to bring our state down in ruins from his own stupidity.

      Reagan started this trickle down economics voo doo nonsense. It has not worked in 35 years – so, I don’t think it is going to work – do you?


    I hate to see this news.

    But on the other hand, knowing that Jordan has stepped up to the plate and has now started actual bombing of ISIS – I will have to trust President Obama that he knows what he is doing.

    Follow my thinking – Obama has been working behind the scenes since last August. I trust my president enough to know that he does not want to repeat what GWB and Gang did in Iraq by just sending our US military troops into the hellholes of the Middle East without any thought to the trillions in taxpayer money to pay for the war.

    PLUS – if Obama gets the Moderate Muslim leaders to put their own skin into the game of defeating ISIS – that means that Muslims are killing other Muslims.

    That is a far cry from what GWB and Gang did in Iraq. The world saw it as the US Christians were fighting Muslims – which could be why some of these moderate Muslim countries were supporting the radical Muslims??

    But when ISIS burned that Jordan pilot alive – that is when the Radical Muslims crossed the line – IMHO (or is my optimism showing?)

    The ONLY way to defeat radical Muslims is for fellow Muslims to take the fight to eradicate the radicals.

    Plus – we have yet to see what Japan plans to do – will they be next in joining Jordan and the US?

    And what about Saudi Arabia? Where do their loyalties lie?

    While I hate seeing this news – at least I feel better knowing Obama is in charge and not that Mitt The Twit Romney.