According to Lynn Rogers, president of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, the problem in Kansas is that our taxes are not high enough.
Last Thursday Kansas House Appropriations chair Kevin Yoder (Republican from Overland Park) and vice-chair Jason Watkins (Republican from northwest Wichita) met with local government officials. The purpose of the meeting was to report on the fiscal situation in Kansas and to seek inputs and suggestions.
About 40 people attended. No news media was present.
According to sources in the meeting, Jeff Turner, CEO of Spirit AeroSytems, made a remark about how there may be no reasonable way the state can deal with the budget situation if K-12 school spending cuts are off the table.
Wichita school board president Rogers took “massive affront” at Turner’s remark. Rogers said that the state cannot cut spending for schools. The problem, he said, is that the state has cut taxes too much already.
The appetite for tax revenue shown by Rogers is characteristic of the public school lobby in Kansas. Despite the fact that school spending has increased rapidly in Kansas and Wichita, it’s never enough for this group. Even the smallest proposed spending reductions are protested vigorously by the government school lobby. (See Kansas school lobby: not enough spending, not enough taxation for a chart showing Kansas school spending growing faster than inflation.)
Earlier this year representative Jim Ward said that cutting the $604 million Wichita school budget by $10 million would “have a significant impact on the ability to deliver education.” (See Do Kansas Budget Cuts Pose a Threat to Wichita Education?)
If it’s true that the ability of Kansas schools to educate the children of Kansas hangs in such delicate balance that even small changes in funding will cause trouble, we have a grave problem.
The real problem, however, is the voracious appetite for taxpayer funds — greed it is, really — of the government school monopoly and those who feed off it.
This meeting was the day before the state consensus estimating group reduced the tax collection forecast by $328 million or about 5% of the state’s General Fund.
This situation is now much worse now than it was last Thursday.
Speaking of greed, Spirit is enjoying a half-billion in tax money that the legislature gave Boeing back in ’06. That half-billion was a pot sweetner so Boeing could off load commercial production, help bust the union, and give Spirit a chance to lay off a few hundred workers.
Corporate welfare that Mr. Weeks and crowd never seem to mind.
preordained1, if you’ve read much of this blog, you’d know that corporate welfare is something I’ve opposed for a long time. It’s one of the things I testify against frequently at Wichita city hall.
Speaking of greed. Check out Mr. Turner at Spirit and his $23 million in stock options granted to him by his company in 22 months. He sold over $14 million of those options while laying off employees and placing them on three day workweek. This information is public and available on the internet. Incidently, the Wichita Eagle received all the documents on this issue but did nothing with it
Perhaps you should find a CEO who will run Spirit for less, since running Spirit is such an easy thing, and perhaps you can also get Lebron James to switch to the OKC Thunder for, let’s say, only $30 million for 3 years, which would be 50% of his regular Cavalier salary: fat chance of both. Lebron James makes his contract wages because his skill set can command it, and that is the same for the CEO of Spirit. These salaries are tied to performance as determined by the board who hires the CEO. The CEO must be paid enough to keep him from going elsewhere, so opportunity cost, what the CEO must be offered to forego alternate compensation also determines the wage. After the CEO is hired a contract is a contract: the board must pay what it agreed to pay. If the CEO performs poorly or negligently then he is subject to civil action and will ruin his ability to get future employment. No, these CEOs, like pro athletes in their arena, are worth their money because they have the skill sets to manage large corporations so that those corporations produce tremendous profits. They produce tremendous profits because the CEO manages the corporation in such a way that it produces tremendous value for consumers. We may not be able to relate to these “customers” since many are governments and large international corporations, but they do allow us to have high tech industry here in Wichita. The nature of this industry is that innovation from time to time will reduce the need for labor but this will allow the company to offer lower costs and compete with countries like India and China which are moving into these markets since they are producing so many more scientists and engineers than America has been for quite some time. If they are not allowed to layoff and cut costs then they will have no more customers and will have to close down altogether. If they get a lot more business then they may hire even more workers.
It will never be in the best interests of the school board to say that it has enough money until their constituents start making that the basis of their voting behavior. Right now we are addicted to the ostensibly free but deceptive state money.
Is their an easy method for emailing particular articles to individuals or groups that is part of this site already or can you have one installed, Bob?
Why is it that you don’t hear the other surrounding school districts (Goddard, Derby, Andover, etc.) complain about their school funding, just Wichita? A big problem in Wichita is we have a big percentage of low income students and they come from all kinds of homes. And did you hear the low (54% ?) graduation rate for Wichita. No amount of money will fix that problem.