The Future of Public Education in Kansas

The Future of Education in Kansas

Public education has a long tradition in the U.S., having first germinated in Thomas Jefferson’s early advocacy. From its very beginnings the objective of free and universal public education went beyond mere learning to include social efficiency, civic virtue, and development of character. And in the formative days of Kansas “The Territorial Legislature believed education was key to the state’s growth and development, since a literate and skilled citizenry could help build business and industry.”

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Are KPERS Retirement Accounts At Risk?

Controversy over the state of Kansas’ KPERS retirement system seems to be a perennial part of the legislative process. Each year seems to bring new legislative proposals which cause anxiety among KPERS participants… both current employees who are paying into the system and retirees who are now receiving benefits. The problem started years ago when the Kansas legislature began to shirk its statutory responsibility for funding KPERS.

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Court Ruling on School Finance

Don Hineman Visits with Press Corps Folling Court Decision on Funding Education

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled last week that the current method of funding public schools is unconstitutional, which I had predicted when the block grant funding mechanism was enacted during the 2015 legislative session. The court gave the legislature until June 30 to replace the faulty system with another which will ensure relatively equal educational opportunity for all Kansas school children.

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Land Use Value Appraisal

Property tax on Kansas farmland has been a hot topic recently. Perhaps it is time to review why use-value appraisal is appropriate. There are some very legitimate reasons why the Kansas constitution was changed in 1986 to value agricultural land for property tax purposes based on its income-producing ability rather than its market value. Land has traditionally been regarded as a store of value and a safe haven for capital in uncertain economic times.

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The Budget Dilemma

Kansas faces a very serious budget deficit, not only for the present fiscal year but also for the next two years. Governor Brownback has proposed a solution which would address the immediate problem for this fiscal year. The final details of that plan are still not completely understood but one thing is certain: nearly everyone hates what is now known about the plan. But it seems no one has a better solution. Now the state is rapidly approaching a serious cash flow crunch and decision time is nearly upon us.

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