When Kansas Republicans passed Sam Brownback’s reckless tax plan in 2012, they blew a giant hole in the state budget. Ever since then, Republicans have tried to fix that hole by taking needed resources away from our school children. Budgets passed by our Republican Legislature and signed by Governors Brownback & Colyer mean Kansas schools currently receive 13% fewer dollars, adjusted for inflation, from the state than they did in 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. This low level of support violates our state Constitution, and the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that the school funding provided by our Republican legislature is inadequate to properly educate students.
This chronic underfunding is taking a toll on our schools. Kansas teachers’ salaries are among the lowest in the nation, leading to a shortage of almost 1,500 teachers at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Statewide assessment scores have fallen dramatically, and now fewer than 40% of our students are rated as on track to be prepared for college or a career after they graduate from high school.
Democrats voted to end the failed Brownback/Kobach tax experiment and start to restore funding to public schools.