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.