June 23, 2016

School funding proposal steals from early childhood, weakens safety net

TOPEKA, KAN. – Less than two hours into the special session, state policymakers yet again asked Kansas’ youngest and most vulnerable citizens to pay for the state’s self-inflicted budget crisis. The plan offered this morning proposes taking $4.1 million from the Children’s Initiatives Fund (CIF) in an irresponsible attempt to equitably – and temporarily – fund public schools.

Kansas Action for Children President and CEO Annie McKay issued this statement in response to the latest proposal:

“Robbing the CIF and other safety net programs runs completely counter to our shared goal of providing all Kansas kids with equitable opportunities to learn and succeed. The CIF supports the most vulnerable, economically fragile children in every Kansas county. An equalized school funding formula has little impact if we strip the lifelines our youngest children need to enter Kindergarten ready to learn.

“Governor Brownback has already taken well over $100 million from investments in kids’ early education and health since 2011, including two rounds of reductions already in 2016. This year, more than $60 million was originally promised to Kansas children through the CIF. Should this proposal pass, nearly one out of every two CIF dollars will instead go to temporarily filling a hole in the state’s budget.

“It makes no sense to sacrifice young Kansas children for school-age Kansas children. If we ever want to accomplish more than crisis management for our kids, we must demand a thoughtful, long-term solution that holds all Kansas children harmless – from diapers to diplomas.”