Monday, September 01, 2014

Inaccurate figures plague GOP on school funding claims

By The Herald Staff | 4/30/2014

TOPEKA — Derek Schmidt, Kansas attorney general, used inaccurate school finance figures in documents filed Friday with the Shawnee County District Court, according to media reports. Schmidt was seeking to remove the equity portion of a lawsuit regarding Kansas education funding.

Earlier this month, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law addressing the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that demanded the state replenish funding to public school districts. Schmidt filed a request Friday to remove the equity portion of the lawsuit on the grounds that the state had satisfied the court order. The lawsuit still is pending under a three-judge panel.

TOPEKA — Derek Schmidt, Kansas attorney general, used inaccurate school finance figures in documents filed Friday with the Shawnee County District Court, according to media reports. Schmidt was seeking to remove the equity portion of a lawsuit regarding Kansas education funding.

Earlier this month, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law addressing the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that demanded the state replenish funding to public school districts. Schmidt filed a request Friday to remove the equity portion of the lawsuit on the grounds that the state had satisfied the court order. The lawsuit still is pending under a three-judge panel.

As evidence of his claim, Schmidt used figures from an April 6 analysis of the law by the Kansas Department of Education that said $48 million would be used for classroom aid. As of April 17, that figure was incorrect, according to another analysis report from the Department of Education, which said classrooms actually would receive only about $36 million. Another $25 million would go to capital improvement projects, and $85 million would go to property tax relief.

Schmidt’s request came several days after the Department of Education updated the figures. Brownback also has used the incorrect figures in political ads.

David Kensinger, head of Brownback’s political organization Road Map Solutions, said the blame for the mix up lies with poor communication from the Department of Education.

“I don’t think [the department] shared the revision with anybody. Certainly not with me. We went with what we did precisely because of the April 6 writing. I was unaware of any revision until after the ad had stopped running,” Kensinger said, according to the Kansas City Star.

Clint Baes, spokesman for Schmidt’s office, said the numbers included in Schmidt’s filing were used because they were the numbers provided to legislators at the time of their vote.

The office of Brownback’s likely opponent in the gubernatorial election, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said in a news release that Brownback’s use of incorrect numbers was an attempt to mislead residents.

“While Brownback tried to inflate the number and make the picture seem rosier than it is, we know the truth,” the news release said. “The facts just aren’t on his side.”

comments powered by Disqus