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Online portal allows anonymous reporting of school funding inefficiencies

by Sara Belfry | Oct 17, 2012

Task force adds member, announces next meeting to focus on district level spending decisions

 Topeka – Kansans who interact with the state’s K-12 educational system and have examples of inefficiencies that they have witnessed or experienced now can go online to share their firsthand experiences with the Governor’s School Efficiency Task Force.  The task forced launched an online portal Wednesday where students, parents, involved citizens, teachers and administrators can submit information anonymously. 

 Recently, Governor Sam Brownback announced the formation of the task force to examine school spending and to develop guidelines on how to get more funding into the classroom where teachers teach and students learn.  As reported to the Kansas Department of Education by the school districts, only 54% of total funding goes into the classroom and for instruction.

 “While task force members are researching and analyzing where inefficiencies are occurring in our educational system, we also want to hear directly from Kansans who have their own ideas and suggestions on how to make our schools more efficient.  We hope to hear from a lot of Kansans who take a few minutes to go online and share their thoughts with us,” Task Force Chairman Ken Willard said

Kansans can submit their suggestions at https://governor.ks.gov/efficiency.  

Willard also announced the group’s next meeting scheduled for 10:00 am on November 9th will focus on spending decisions made at the district level.  He said the task force will receive a report from a representative of the Kansas Association of School Boards Efficiency Task Force and presentations from other district level education officials.  Presenters will be asked to identify best practices for reductions in administrative overhead and shed light on policies that limit their efforts to spend taxpayer money as efficiently as possible. 

Governor Brownback said it was important for the task force to have a clear understanding of how state decisions impact local decisions.

“Inefficient spending impacts Kansas taxpayers at every level, from the State General Fund to local property taxes.  The state has increased total spending on education by almost $1 billion since 2000.  Many school districts have raised taxes on local property owners during that same time period.  Moving forward, we owe it to Kansas taxpayers to ensure those resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Brownback said.

Governor Brownback also announced Iola/USD 257 Superintendent Brian Pekarek will join the task force.  Governor Brownback said, “Brian is well known as a Superintendent who is open to new ideas.  He will make a great addition to the task force as they narrow their focus to the local level.”

Pekarek joins a number of current task forces members who have district level budgeting experience, including Chairman Willard, Dave Jackson and Jim Churchman who all served on local school boards.