TOPEKA (KSNT) – On Friday, Kansas Governor Brownback tried to lay out some numbers in terms of how Kansas schools fare as the upcoming year approaches, but some believe his numbers aren’t accurate.
“The average teacher salary has increased in the state of Kansas every year since 2010,” says Brownback.
And the Governor says this year is no exception. To emphasize his point, he used a poster to show the how Kansas teacher pay exceeds other states, including our neighbor, Missouri.
The chart shows a $7,000 gap between what Kansas teachers make, and what Missouri teachers make.
“The numbers you see to your left were taken directly from the Departments of Education from both the state of Kansas and the state of Missouri. The include pay and fringe benefits as reported by state,” says policy director, Brendan Smith.
But some say the governor isn’t comparing apples to apples.
“Okay, I’m going to tell you straight up. I’ve spoken with an administrator with the Kansas Department of Education, who said that the 54,000 number that the governor has quoted in an editorial and now in this speech included fringe benefits. The 47,000 number from Missouri doesn’t,” says KNEA’s Marcus Baltzell.
He says while it’s just a poster, the discrepancy begs an even bigger question. Is the money going towards schools or pensions?
“It shouldn’t be about spreadsheets and accounting tricks. It should be about real dollars in classrooms and helping students,” says educator Stephanie Harsin.
Something Brownback says he’s working to do.
“I do everything I can to protect K-12 funding,” says Brownback.
“Teachers are the kind of people who want to believe the best in others. They want to believe the governor. The vast majority majority of us are Republicans and some of us even voted for him. People want to believe the governor.”
While Brownback says the funding for education has increased, he still has to find 50 million more dollars to cut from the budget for the next year.
On Friday he vowed that education will not be included in those cuts.