Opinion Columns & Blogs

School formula repeal, rhetoric are troubling

Nearly as troubling as Gov. Sam Brownback wanting to repeal the state’s school-finance formula without first developing a replacement was the over-the-top, hostile rhetoric he used in his State of the State address. Brownback claimed that the current formula was “designed not to be understood – to frustrate efforts at accountability and efficiency.” Not true. He also used loaded language such as “accounting scheme,” “gimmicks” and “bureaucratic games.” The formula is complicated because adequately and equitably funding a statewide school system – with districts of different sizes, student demographics, poverty levels, property values, transportation needs, etc. – is complicated. As the courts have repeatedly ruled, the problem isn’t the funding formula; it’s the refusal of the state to fund it fully. – Phillip Brownlee