State funding cuts will hasten consolidations
By Sarah Kessinger
Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:38 AM CDT
Gov. Sam Brownback’s campaign sought to shore up rural support this past week with his usual tactic: fear.
Brownback and several rural Republican lawmakers announced they were upset that former Sen. John Vratil from Johnson County was appointed to a public commission on education.
The person who appointed Vratil was House Minority Leader Paul Davis, the Democrat running against Brownback.
Former Sen. Vratil is a Republican moderate who commented publicly a few years ago that consolidation would be a part of the future funding picture for rural schools.
This isn’t anything new. We all know that population and funding declines pose great challenges for rural schools and consolidation is occurring statewide.
This part of Kansas just watched B&B schools merge with Nemaha Valley schools to form the new Nemaha Central district based at Seneca.
few years ago it was the same for Axtell, Bern and Summerfield schools merging into the Prairie Hills school district based at Sabetha.
These are just two examples of many across the state.
So Vratil’s comments, while blunt, were simply the writing on the wall.
Rural voters shouldn’t be taken in by Brownback’s efforts to mislead or make us afraid. He is simply trying to divert attention from the fact he has failed to support public education and that will hasten consolidation.
Without adequate funding, small rural districts have no choice but to move faster to merge.
Next year at this time, the state budget will face a shortfall because Brownback slashed income taxes. Instead, he wants us to believe that rural schools will face funding troubles because of something a former senator said a few years ago.
Sorry, governor, we’re not that dumb. Your diversion tactics are nothing short of demeaning to rural Kansans.