Is it true that school funding only appears to be setting new records because of accounting changes?
No, that’s not true. Emails from the Department of Education say no accounting changes for KPERS, Special Education, property taxes or anything else have affected total reported funding for more than ten years.
Didn’t the Legislature’s own audit say that schools are underfunded?
No. It’s been said that the 2006 Legislative Post Audit report said schools were underfunded but the report very clearly says that is not true. LPA said the goal of that report was “…to make decisions and assumptions in both cost studies that were reasonable, credible, and defensible. Because K-12 education funding levels ultimately will depend on the Legislature’s policy choices, we designed the input-based cost study to allow different “what if” scenarios.” They also said, “In other words, it’s important to remember that these cost studies are intended to help the Legislature decide appropriate funding levels for K-12 public education. They aren’t intended to dictate any specific funding level, and shouldn’t be viewed that way.”
The Augenblick & Myers 2001 cost study suggested that schools were underfunded, and while the Montoy courts relied on that study, the Supreme Court essentially threw out that report in Gannon, saying that cost studies “…are more akin to estimates than the certainties…” envisioned by the District Court. Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall (then writing for Kansas Policy Institute) discovered in 2009 that A&M admittedly deviated from their own methodology by ignoring efficient use of taxpayer money, which produced inflated cost estimates.
Is it true that over $1 billion of our tax dollars went to other states because Kansas didn’t expand Medicaid?
No. That would only be true if the federal government set a pool of money aside for expansion and divided it among participating states, but Congress didn’t do that. No ‘extra’ money went to states that expanded because no specific amount of money was set aside to be divided among participants. And since the federal budget is running trillions of dollars of deficits, more Medicaid expansion would have required more borrowing and added to the national debt.