According to George Soros’ not-so-clandestine Leftist scribes at The Kansas Reflector, former Kansas Governor Sam Brownback fiendishly cut funding to Kansas school kids – just before he cut off Luke Skywalker’s hand and declared that he was really Luke’s father.
Liberals in the Kansas media – even those whose operations aren’t funded by Soros’ socialist propaganda network of “States Newsrooms” online affiliates – have retold this tale for better than half a decade now. Mood lighting and stage blocking has been provided by the Kansas National Education Association teachers’ union and the Kansas Democrat Party. It’s the hull plating on the Death Star which the Kansas Big Government Fan Club has built to portray Republicans as heartless followers of the Dark Sith, intent on dastardly policy like preventing the murder of babies and keeping boys out of your daughter’s school bathroom.
Of course this dark Kansas school finance legend is just as big a fiction as the Star Wars Trilogy, and as sensible as Dylan Mulvaney swilling a Bud Light with his construction worker buddies after an overtime shift. Never mind that facts don’t fit the narrative and that Kansas media have ignored the actual math ever since Darth Brownback was in office. Yoda Soros’ mentorship is clear: “Dumb enough you are us to believe. Yes, hmmmmmm.”
This particular skirmish was brought about when one of Soros’ Reflector flunkies called Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson a liar when Masterson told an Augusta public forum that funding cuts under Brownback were a myth. The fantasy could have been unraveled by anyone who took the time to look at the Kansas Department of Education’s own financial reporting over Brownback’s two terms – a use of “The Force” which apparently escaped the Reflector’s hapless Storm Trooper – but it took the boys over at the online news service The Sentinel to go so far as to actually pull the records and cipher up the facts.
Total per-pupil funding actually increased from $12,283 to $13,620 during the Brownback years as The Sentinel’s review of state department of education records reveal – and the increase even outpaced inflation at the time. “Base State Aid,” which accounts for less than 25% of total school funding, was reduced while other sources in the mix surged – a dynamic Sentinel writer Dave Trabert likens to a kid going from $3 to $4 in his piggy bank but complaining because he has fewer nickels. And the shoddy reporting doesn’t stop there:
“The Kansas Reflector also consciously misrepresents special education funding in several ways,” Trabert’s piece analyzes. “First, it says the Kansas Association of School Boards estimates that the special education funding is about $160 million short of the statutory requirement. But then they say Governor Kelly is proposing to “add $72.4 million for special education every year for the next five years to meet the statutory requirement.” Kelly’s proposal compounds each year, putting the total 5-year cost at $1.1 billion, or about $900 million more than it would take to fully fund special education at the KASB estimate.
“Reporters are notoriously bad at math, but even if they missed the compounding aspect, five times $72.4 million is more than double the alleged shortfall. Further, it seems to be a conscious effort to deceive because they regurgitate a Kelly press release that says her proposal puts Kansas “on track to fully fund special education.” To fully fund, according to KASB, would only cost $160 million. They know Kelly is torturing the truth, but they dutifully carry her water anyway.”
Another interesting tidbit: The percentage of Kansas students with college-ready ACT scores was at its height during the Brownback years. Since funding was “restored,” that percentage has dropped to a 20-year low of just 21 percent. If more money for public schools benefits kids, how do those numbers compute?
Such facts won’t change the storytelling from the lackeys in Soros-funded media or elsewhere among the Kansas Left, but they do spin “Ad Astra per Aspera” into “May the Farce be with you.”
– Dane Hicks is the publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Kansas. His Kansas-based novel “The Skinning Tree” will celebrate a 20 year re-release in Fall 2023.