AP: KASB forms school group that includes educators

10/11/2012

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Association of School Boards announced Wednesday that it will create a group of superintendents and other school leaders to respond to Gov. Sam Brownback's education policies after he established an efficiency task force that doesn't include any educators.

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas Association of School Boards announced Wednesday that it will create a group of superintendents and other school leaders to respond to Gov. Sam Brownback's education policies after he established an efficiency task force that doesn't include any educators.

"Kansas school leaders have already demonstrated a high degree of efficiency operations," said KASB executive director John Heim. "At the same time, school leaders know we must continue to increase the college and career readiness skills of our high school graduates to meet the state's economic needs."

The governor said during a news conference on Tuesday that the best way to increase funding for Kansas schools was to grow the economy, which he was trying to do through income tax cuts that take effect Jan. 1.

Brownback's group was appointed in September with the goal of identifying ways to get more education dollars into the classroom. The group includes numerous certified public accountants and the governor's budget director.

Kansas spends some $3.2 billion in state dollars on K-12 education. Brownback wants to find efficiencies to meet a goal in state law that requires 65 percent of the money to be spent on classroom instruction.

Sherriene Jones-Sontag, the governor's spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the administration welcomed KASB's efforts and "looked forward to hearing their ideas."

Democrats and school advocates criticized Brownback for not including educators on his task force.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, said he was all for finding efficiencies but the governor needs input from people whose job is to educate students.

"I think the governor has put together a task force with a predetermined outcome. We are going to get solutions that aren't realistic," Davis said.

The KASB group will meet Oct. 19 and Nov. 2, while the governor's task force is scheduled to meet Nov. 9.

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