Education is a core value of Kansans; therefore, investing in public education at all levels has been, and always will be, a top priority of Kansas Democrats. The success of our children and our communities depends on quality schools with educators who have successfully completed teacher education programs and are licensed through the Kansas Department of Education. A quality education depends on attracting and retaining quality teachers. The success of our economy depends on a well-educated and well-trained workforce.

Therefore, Kansas Democrats support full funding for public education as required by the Kansas Constitution; an end to tax breaks for corporations that fund scholarship money that goes to private schools; and reinstating due process for public school teachers.

Prosperity and job creation in the 21st century depend on funding quality public schools, vocational training, community colleges and universities in Kansas. There is no higher priority for our tax dollars, and there is no greater commitment for Kansas Democrats.

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.

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