Gov. Sam Brownback repeatedly demonstrates that he either fails to understand the basic tenets of school financing or he is willing to deliberately mislead the citizens of Kansas.
A recent email from his office to “fellow Kansans” contends that, despite a lot of “bombastic talk” from union leaders and newspaper editorials, “Kansas schools are well funded.”
Look no further, it says, than the Tonganoxie School District’s new elementary school. Or the new fine arts facility in Osage County. Plus, the Shawnee Mission School District just broke ground on the first of six buildings and Wichita has a new high school.
Those are signs of progress all right. But Brownback can’t take credit. All came about because local voters affirmed the value of quality public schools and approved bond issues for construction projects.
School districts look to the state to fund most of the day-to-day expenses of educating children and paying teachers and staff. Those dollars continue to fall short.
Recently, Brownback said Kansas’ teachers are better paid than Missouri’s teachers. They aren’t. His office had the numbers wrong.
Before that, the governor declared that the Kansas City, Kan., School District should have used the money it spent on a new piano for its flagship high school to hire an additional teacher. But the piano purchase was a capital expense that can’t be used for salaries.
Is this a pattern of miscues or intentional falsehoods? Either way, Brownback loses credibility with every false assertion.