Sept. 2, 2014
Our latest report, “Quality At Risk: Impact of Education Cuts,” marks a new approach to KCEG’s research and analysis – including the voices of Kansans directly impacted by and connected to the investment we examined: K-12 education. While the pool of data on Kansas’ public schools is deep, it can sometimes miss the mark in connecting the action – budget cuts – with the real, tangible impacts that districts, parents and students are experiencing all throughout the state.
We gathered information directly from a survey of Kansas school superintendents and captured feedback from parents and teachers across the state with help from our organizational partners. What we heard underscores the shortsighted savings of budget cuts at the expense of Kansas schoolchildren and our future economic growth.
The key takeaways:
1. People move to Kansas for many reasons – family, job opportunities, quality of life and the strength of our public schools. Undermining the quality of a Kansas education jeopardizes our ability to draw people to the Sunflower State.
2. Ongoing, scheduled tax cuts will continue to drain the resources needed to address the struggles of Kansas’ school districts with crowded classrooms, fewer teachers and reduced opportunities for students.
3. Our state make-up and the global economy are two ever-changing factors, and we need an educational system that’s able to be flexible and respond to both.
Enough from us. Here are a few quotes submitted by parents, teachers and superintendents from across Kansas.
“There is no business on earth that could continue to operate with the cuts we have had. We are not even keeping up with inflation!” Superintendent, South-central Region
“Our teachers have been cut, therefore, we have been forced to limit the number of classes we can provide. We have students wanting to be challenged and cannot be.
On the other side of this, because I’m being given more classes, I can’t have a remediation hour for students that need extra help.” Teacher, North-central Region
“We have put a great strain on our staff to do more. This includes teachers, support staff, administration and classified [employees]. We are beginning to lose great people due to the increased demands put in place to reduce spending.” Superintendent, North-central Region
“We have had a rise in the number of at-risk students in [our] district and it is very hard to help them make progress when money isn’t there to provide extra assistance.” Superintendent, South-central Region
“Budgets cuts have diminished the number of sections of classes. For my son, when he was a junior last year he was not able to take honors physics because it was only offered one section and it was opposite another class that was offered one section. He ended up taking regular physics. This could impact his class standing and in turn his chances for scholarships and getting into college honors programs.” Parent, Northeast Region
“Due to budget cuts our district does not have the funding to purchase a reading or math curriculum program, therefore I am purchasing many curriculum items from my pay.” Teacher, Northeast region
“The district stopped funding bus transportation for field trips. Field trips aren’t just for fun – teachers have been using them as starting points for math and writing lessons, for example. The PTO funds part of the fees, but the parents are being asked for ever increasing amounts of money for these trips and other classroom expenses.” Parent, South-central Region