Kansas school funding email confuses, misleads

Kansas Liberty is reporting that an email message making the rounds is based on incorrect and misleading information.

The email complains that Kansas state legislators are paid $47,780 per year, while the state spends just $4,100 per year per child for education.

Actual legislator pay is less than half the figure cited. The email is simply incorrect on this.

Then, what about the school spending? The number cited is base state aid per pupil. It’s a starting point for a complicated formula that determines how much money the state will actually spend. One thing is certain: the state spends much more than that, and schools spend even more.

For the 2008-2009 school year, spending by the state was $7,344 per student, according to the Kansas Department of Education. So even considering state spending only, the base figure represents only a portion of school spending.

After adding federal and local funding, per student spending for the same year was $12,660 — over three times the figure cited in the email.

Misleading? Absolutely.

It’s no wonder that school spending advocates focus on only a small portion of school spending. It’s for the same reason that they dispute the large unencumbered fund balances that Kansas Watchdog has uncovered. The fact is that schools have a tremendous amount of money, and they’re embarrassed to have that exposed.

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