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Input from USD 308 to governor on new school finance formula

After Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback asked for input on a new school finance formula, Hutchinson Public Schools decided to use a community-wide survey to collect feedback from stakeholders regarding elements to include in a new finance formula.

USD 308 Superintendent Dr. Shelly Kiblinger said that based upon the input from 726 Kansas citizens, the district was recommending the elements below for inclusion in the new school finance formula. The detailed survey results follow these recommendations.

  • The new formula should provide schools with a predictable annual budget.
  • The new formula should adjust funding based upon student enrollment numbers.
  • The new formula should adjust funding annually based upon inflation rates.
  • The new formula should fully fund special education services as required by law.
  • The new formula should provide funding for all-day kindergarten.
  • The new formula should adjust funding based upon the cost of specialized services, such as transportation, English as a Second Language or Career and Technical Education.
  • The new formula should provide funding to prevent at-risk students from failing or dropping out of school.
  • The definition of classroom spending should include student support, such as nurses, counselors, librarians, social workers and student busing.
  • As the state transitions from the current block grants to the new formula, districts with declining enrollment should be given adequate time or financial support to adjust operations as opposed to making drastic cuts to balance their budgets.
  • State funds should not be used to provide vouchers to students of private schools.
  • Low wealth districts should receive state assistance with construction projects to lower property taxes for citizens.  
  • The formula should provide some amount of local control through an equalized Local Option Budget, which provides equal educational opportunity through similar tax effort.

This data has been emailed to the governor, whose staff sent the following automated response:

Thank you for submitting your input as we work together to ensure a bright future for our children, your participation is an important part of this process. With your help we will develop a funding system for education that gives students the opportunity to succeed.

            We will continue to collect policy ideas, proposed legislation and other input from various stakeholders as our office prepares for the 2017 legislative session.

Sincerely,

Brandon Smith

Policy Director

Office of Governor Sam Brownback

            Below are the responses the district received broken out by staff members, parents who are not staff members, USD 308 residents and “other,” which would include anyone not fitting in the first three groups.

SURVEY RESPONSES

Respondent Description

# of Survey Participants

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

211

Parent (not a staff member)

340

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

53

Other

122

 

The new formula should provide schools with a predictable annual budget.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

197

12

Parent (not a staff member)

332

7

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

51

2

Other

114

8

 

The new formula should adjust funding based upon student enrollment numbers.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

201

8

Parent (not a staff member)

301

37

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

48

3

Other

111

10

 

The new formula should adjust funding annually based upon inflation rates.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

201

8

Parent (not a staff member)

310

28

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

45

8

Other

112

8

 

The new formula should fully fund special education services as required by law.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

206

2

Parent (not a staff member)

328

11

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

51

1

Other

115

7

 

The new formula should provide funding for all-day kindergarten.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

192

17

Parent (not a staff member)

297

42

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

43

10

Other

103

19

 

The new formula should adjust funding based based upon the cost of specialized services, such as transportation, English as a Second Language or Career and Technical Education.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

193

16

Parent (not a staff member)

280

53

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

44

9

Other

100

21

 

The new formula should provide funding to prevent at-risk students from failing or dropping out of school.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

191

18

Parent (not a staff member)

298

39

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

42

11

Other

99

21

 

 

 

The definition of classroom spending should include student support, such as nurses, counselors, librarians, social workers and student busing.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

190

21

Parent (not a staff member)

288

49

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

40

12

Other

105

17

 

As the state transitions from the current block grants to the new formula, districts with declining enrollment should be given adequate time or financial support to adjust operations as opposed to making drastic cuts to balance their budgets.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

196

12

Parent (not a staff member)

308

28

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

46

6

Other

112

9

 

Private schools are not required to accept all students, are not subject to the laws governing public schools and are not held to the accountability and achievement standards of public schools. State funds should not be used to provide vouchers to students of private schools.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

184

27

Parent (not a staff member)

280

59

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

43

10

Other

111

11

 

Low wealth districts, like Hutchinson, should receive state assistance with construction projects to lower property taxes for citizens.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

190

18

Parent (not a staff member)

299

58

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

42

11

Other

81

39

 

The formula should provide some amount of local control through an equalized Local Option Budget, which provides equal educational opportunity through similar tax effort.

Respondent Description

Agree

Disagree

Staff member (with or without kids in school)

201

6

Parent (not a staff member)

317

15

308 resident (no kids in school and not a staff member)

43

10

Other

116

5