This is the testimony we presented to oppose SB 311, a bill intended to strip the Kansas Department of Education of the administration of public school finances, transferring them instead to the Department of Administration, answerable directly to the Governor. However, before we could post this here, the chairman of the committee withdrew the bill, complaining bitterly about media reports and "vile emails" in opposition.
Position – OPPOSE Transfer of administration of school finance from the state board of education to the department of administration and secretary of administration (SB 311)
Chairman Masterson and Members of the Committee,
The MainStream Coalition opposes passage of SB 311. There are two particular aspects of the bill that we oppose:
- The bill will lead to partisan, opaque government processes. The Kansas Department of Education provides a non-partisan approach to managing education finance. They are accessible, and provide strong and complete data sets to all constituents. We fear a move to the Department of Administration will be fraught with partisanship, political decisions, and reduced access to robust information.
- The bill will hurt public education in Kansas. This bill will take the administration and appropriation of school finance matters away from those most qualified to oversee them, the staff and former educators in charge of the Kansas Department of Education. In addition, this bill further encroaches upon the purview of the State Board of Education, entrusted by the Kansas Constitution with oversight of education matters in Kansas.
The MainStream Coalition supports good, transparent government and a strong public education system as bedrock principles. This law would make an open, accessible process more confusing, and would hurt public education. It is unnecessary and introduces partisan elements into a non-partisan process.
We oppose its passage.
Thank you for your attention,