Brownback releases budget proposal on education and other funding areas

Gov. Sam Brownback released a budget that would commit to adding $600 million more to K-12 education funding by 2022, but did not provide a detailed budget plan beyond next year, Fiscal Year 2019. 

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan told the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means Committee Tuesday morning that the additional K-12 funding was proposed as a remedy for Gannon school finance “adequacy” case. The budget proposal is available here. 

The Kansas Supreme Court has not told the Legislature how much is required, but says the state must demonstrate or show evidence that it is providing enough to address approximately 25 percent of Kansas students scoring below grade and deep differences in performance by various student groups. Previous Kansas cost studies, the plaintiff school districts, the State Board of Education, and other indicators suggest $600 million be a reasonable amount but added in a shorter amount of time than proposed by Brownback. 

Last month, legislative leaders hired two school finance experts to conduct a new cost study and to “peer review” that study and previous studies. That work is not expected to be completed until March. 

Brownback recommended that $107 million be added to the $87.8 million already proposed for next year, which would increase the base aid per pupil amount from $4,128 to $4,281. He also proposes $6 million for in Local Option Budget state aid to address the Supreme Court’s objection to allowing a one-year delay in LOB aid changes. 

In addition, the governor calls for appropriating $100 million additional in each of Fiscal Years 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, at which point the base amount would be $4,761, according to Director Sullivan. 

However, the governor’s budget does not provide an outline of proposed revenue and expenditures for the following four years, so it does not show the estimated impact in on other states programs. The governor said he is not recommending taxes increases to fund the budget. 

Without a tax increase, state tax revenues will have to increase much more rapidly through economic growth than currently expected to fund additional K-12 education aid. Even current estimates, the state general fund will face a deficit in FY 2020 without more K-12 aid if the Legislature restores all state tax revenue transfers to the state highway fund (over $300 million per year) and restores full scheduled payments to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Fund ($266 million in FY 2020 and additional funding in following years.) 

The Kansas Legislative Research Department will likely prepare its own “profile” of the state general fund under the governor’s budget for the next five years. 

Here are some of the highlight of information released today: 

The governor’s proposal would increase general state aid by an estimated $600 million more than the current year, FY 2019. Because about $90 million has already been approximated for next year, the proposal is $500 million than what is approved for next year. 

The annual $100 million increases are more than the projected rate of inflation, but there is no additional consumer price index adjustment. As a result, the “real,” after inflation value of the increase will decline. 

In addition to $6 million to address the LOB state aid delay problem, the governor’s budget proposes to add $15 million this year and $26 million next year in additional KPERS payments based on higher school district payrolls under additional aid already appropriated. However, it does not add money for further payroll increases next year if another $100 million in added. 

The governor is also proposing to set three goals to be achieved by 2023: first, a 95 percent graduation rate (Kansas currently at approximately 87 percent); second, a statewide post-secondary effective rate of 75 percent (Kansas is currently at 44 percent) and moving more schools into the Kansans Can school redesign model. 

To support these goals, the governor sets five strategic objectives to be met by 2023: 

First, have the highest pay average of our neighboring states by 2023, and have a higher average than Missouri next year. 

Second, increase the number of school counselors and school psychologists by 150 position each year for the next five years, for a total of 750 more positions. 

Third, have 50 schools participating in the Kansans Can redesign model. Fourteen schools in seven districts are part of the Mercury project this year; other schools are participating informally as “Gemini” schools and the formal Gemini II group for next year will be selected this Spring. 

Fourth, every Kansas high school student should be able to take 15 credit hours of dual credit coursework (for both high school and postsecondary credit) at no cost to the student. 

Fifth. every Kansas high school student will have the choice of taking either the ACT college entrance exam or the Work Keys assessment for the National Career Readiness Certificate at no cost during his or her high school career. 

In addition to the Gannon “remedy” funding, the governor is also proposing several other early children, K-12 and higher education initiatives. These include: 

— Adding $3 million from the state general fund next year as matching funding to draw an estimated $30 million in one-time federal e-rate funding for technology infrastructure. The project goals include getting all schools the internet bandwidth (100 kbps per student) needed for digital learning and upgrading the Wi-Fi network in every school to support one-to-one learning. 

— Restoring $2.34 million in early childhood block grant funds cut under previous budget allotments. 

— Using $1 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding to eliminate the waiting list for the Parents as Teachers program. These funds could only be used for families meeting certain needs criteria. Existing program funds, which would not be changed, can be used to serve any family, regardless of need. 

— Adding $1.4 million to expand the Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) program, which promotes high school graduation and college/career readiness. 

— Providing $1 million for a pilot program for Communities Aligned in Early Development and Education (CAEDE), described as “a shared partnership between public investment and private, business investment. The purpose of CAEDE is to improve school readiness and the health of at-risk children by using the Kansas Blueprint for Early Childhood’s three areas of impact: healthy development, strong families, and early learning as a guide for the development of community based early childhood proposals.” 

— Providing $105,000 from the state general fund in FY 2019 to fully fund the student cost for College and Technical Education credentialing tests. The governor recommends that no student who takes the test will have any out-of-pocket expenditures for these tests beginning in FY 2019.  

— Adding an additional $7.3 million in the current year and $8.3 million next year to fully fund postsecondary technical education courses provided by technical and community colleges to high school students as no cost to the state. (This funding is in the higher education budget.) 

The governor also recommends that any additional state general fund revenues received in excess of the consensus revenue estimate should be set aside so that 50 percent of such funds go into a “rainy day” reserve fund and 50 percent go to repay over $300 million in state idle funds “borrowed” from the Pooled Money Investment Board last session. Under current law, those funds are to be repaid over the next seven years.  

Share this post