It’s been a while since I’ve reached out, but I couldn’t ignore the latest email that is making the rounds from your Deputy Communications Director Malika Willoughby regarding reporting on the education cuts.
“As you may have heard, Governor Brownback announced additional budget reductions yesterday. Here is what the Kansas mainstream media won’t be reporting,” the e-mail begins. “The Legislature significantly increased spending on schools in the budget bill last year. Six months later, the Governor and Legislature were given a $63.6 million dollar bill above the budgeted increase as the Kansas Department of Education underestimated the fiscal note for the school finance bill passed last year. This is one example of why the school finance formula needs to be replaced.”
As you may have heard? Yes, I believe unless you are taking up residence under the closest rock, everybody has heard. Here’s what the Kansas mainstream media won’t be reporting? Oh snap!
The old blame the media trick. Damn you media for not writing the whole story! You left out the good part where classes will now be taught by Bill Gates for computer science and Bill Clinton for political science. Stephen Hawking will fly in to teach physics. Every student will wear a uniform designed by Ralph Lauren and Michael Jordan will teach gym. School lunches will now be served by Martha Stewart and all the schools will be renovated by Nate Berkus.
Wait…that’s not happening? Silly me.
Now I’m not part of the mainstream media. In fact, I’m not upstream or even downstream in the media, let alone mainstream. Hell, lets just call it what it is – I’m not even IN the stream when it comes to the media. I’ve just occasionally dipped my big toe in the mainstream a time or two. I’ve just got my little blog here so I feel like I can say this between the two of us…
Governor, you are wwwaaaayyy off base.
Maybe the Legislature did present you with a bill that increased spending for schools, but your memory may be a bit fuzzy on this – the courts found that you were significantly under funding our schools in the first place. In fact, the under funding was found to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I’m no economics wiz or government relations guru and even I get this.
Even if the legislature did present you with a bill that increased spending for schools, they were still being under funded in the first place. But I forgot – that’s the formula’s fault. Yes, the formula is to blame!
Here’s the other part to this story. The aggressive tax cuts hurt our state and now we don’t have the funds to cover education. We could still be having a robust discussion about the formula and you and I both know you would have won. The formula would have ended up changed in your favor anyway. What this wouldn’t be is a major crisis, because we would have the funds to cover education no matter what the formula!
Who is to blame for the revenue shortfall?
Let’s see….who is to blame? I know it has something to do with tax cuts. Geez…the name escapes me. I think it starts with a B. Dang memory. I think I need some of that Ginko stuff.
Anyway, if the name comes to me I’ll let you know. I know advice isn’t appreciated unless it’s asked for, but I’m going to give a wee bit anyway. Lay off blaming the media for not reporting the whole story. Trust me, there aren’t enough hours in the day to report on everything that is happening in Kansas right now. Focus on getting us out of this mess.