March 31, 2016

Duane Goossen, director of the state division of the budget for 12 years, is scheduled to speak here at the upcoming meeting of Save Our Schools-Cowley County.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Winfield High School cafeteria.

Goossen is widely recognized as the leading expert on the state’s budget and its woes.

He served as budget director under governors Graves, Sebelius and Parkinson. He will be accompanied by Annie McKay, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth.

Goossen blogs on the budget for the center. He recently warned the state’s general fund was “broke.”

“Income tax revenue was cut so sharply in 2012,” he said, “that recurring revenue does not begin to cover expenses…Lawmakers have already used up general fund reserves. Kansas has no rainy day fund. The current budget barely survives by grabbing large one-time transfers from other funds.”

Larry Hahn, a member of the steering committee of SOS-Cowley County, encouraged those interested in public education to hear Goossen and take part in a discussion following his talk.

“Our organization’s goal is to provide facts to the public about the impact of school finance cuts on our local districts,” Hahn said, “and build community advocacy to influence policymakers to improve state aid to public schools. We want to hear your ideas on how to do this.”

Hahn pointed out the state’s budget woes were not only hurting public schools, but also hurting local government generally.

“We hope the broad impact of the state’s budget problems can be part of our discussion,” he said.

Save Our Schools-Cowley County is a non-partisan, grassroots organization started in May 2015. It has hosted school superintendents and others at a number of meetings in Winfield and Arkansas City.

For more information, email saveourschoolscowley@gmail.com or call (620) 221-0915.

Read more from the Winfield Courier here.

Lisa OwenWINFIELD COURIER: State budget expert to speak in Winfield