Thursday, October 18, 2012

Brownback urges Kansans to report school inefficiencies

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

Gov. Sam Brownback is asking Kansans to report examples of inefficiencies with the state’s public school system.

Brownback’s office on Wednesday announced a website where people can anonymously report their experiences with the educational system to the Governor’s School Efficiency Task Force. The website is

“Inefficient spending impacts Kansas taxpayers at every level, from the state general fund to local property taxes,” Brownback said. “Moving forward, we owe it to Kansas taxpayers to ensure those resources are used as efficiently as possible.”

Brownback also announced that he was appointing Iola Schools Superintendent Brian Pekarek to join the efficiency task force.

“Brian is well-known as a superintendent who is open to new ideas,” Brownback said.

Before Pekarek’s appointment, no member of the task force worked in a school. Democrats had criticized Brownback’s original appointees, saying the task force members lacked knowledge of the day-to-day operations and costs of schools.

Democrats have also said that the task force is going to be used to provide cover for Brownback to cut state funding to schools. But Brownback has said he will protect school funding.

In the news release, the governor’s office repeated its claim that only 54 percent of total school funding goes into the classroom for instruction, but Democrats and educators have said the governor’s office is not figuring the total correctly.

The task force’s next meeting is Nov. 9. Chairman Ken Willard of Hutchinson urged Kansans to contact the website and share information about school inefficiencies.

“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,” Willard said.