Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Restoring Additional School Funding for Students and Teachers: School District Survey Results

If provided an additional $600 million in funding over three years, school district leaders say they would spend $255 million to enhance programs for at-risk students, increase the graduation rate and help students better prepare to succeed after high school – all of which would address the Kansas Supreme Court’s concern about underperforming students. There would also be $90 million available to increase teacher salaries that have fallen behind several neighboring states. It is important to realize that it will cost the remainder — or $255 million over three years — to simply keep up with increasing costs and wages due to inflation at current annual rates.

Various cost studies and comparisons to other states and previous levels of Kansas funding and achievement indicate that Kansas school funding should be increased by approximately $600 million to provide constitutionally suitable funding based on student outcomes. Governor Brownback proposed $600 million to remedy the school finance case, phased in over a five-year period.

This fall, in response to a Legislative request, the Kansas State Department of Education surveyed school districts on how they would spend an additional $200 million over each of the next three years. The results were presented to the Special Committee on a Comprehensive Response to the School Finance Decision in December.

Programs to improve student success

Districts say they would spend an average of $85 million out of $200 million per year for enhancing programs and services for students, for a total of $255 million more per year after three years.

As the table below shows, most of the new money would go to direct interventions and services, such as special help for lower achieving students, early childhood and special education; proven efforts to help all students, such as hiring more teachers to lower class size, more career and guidance counselors, social workers and technical education programs; and supporting technology and curriculum materials.

Proposed District Investments in Student Success Programs from $600 million
From school district survey on allocation of additional $200 million per year over three years.
Remaining funding would cover inflation and help educator salaries catch up with other states.

Identified purpose for
Times $200 million
per year
At-risk Students*
$15.8 million
$47.4 million
Lower class size
$8.2 million
$24.6 million
Counselors, social workers
$7.6 million
$22.9 million**
$7.6 million
$22.9 million
Curriculum materials
$7.6 million
$22.9 million
Early Childhood
$6.8 million
$20.4 million
Career and Technical Education
$4.8 million
$14.4 million
$4.8 million
$14.4 million
Staff Development
$4.4 million
$13.2 million***
Special Education
$3.8 million
$11.4 million****
After school programs
$3.0 million
$9.0 million
Safety and security
$2.2 million
$6.6 million
CTE counselors
$2.0 million
$6.0 million
$1.8 million
$5.4 million
Summer school
$0.8 million
$2.4 million
Increase graduation rate
$0.8 million
$2.4 million
Additional nurses
$0.4 million
$1.2 million
Expanded school year
$0.4 million
$1.2 million
*While all investments on this list would benefit at-risk students, these programs would be targeted specifically at students who meet certain criteria, such as performing below grade level, high absenteeism and others.
**Would fund approximately 150 positions per year at teacher salary average of $50,000, for three years. Governor’s budget has a goal of 150 per year over five years.
***Fulling state professional development program would require approximately $8.5 million; fully funding the mentor teacher program would require $3 million.
****Special education state aid for FY 2019 is $84.4 million below the 92 percent of excess cost target in state law.

Keeping up with Inflation

Based on an annual consumer price index increase of 1.9 percent (which is the estimate for calendar year 2017 and 2018 by the November Consensus Revenue Estimate), it will require an increase of approximately $85 million per year in funding in the general fund, Local Option Budget and special education state aid to keep up with inflation. Over a three-year period, that would require $255 million at the end of three years.

This is based on the legal maximum budgets for school district general fund and local option budgets published by KSDE plus state aid for special education. Statewide expenditures in these funds in the current year, FY 2017-18, are expected to be $4,369.3 million.

Assuming an increase in the consumer price index of 1.9 percent for the next three years, it will require the following increases just to keep up with inflation:
FY 2019: $4,369.3 million times 0.019 = $83.0 million
FY 2020: $4,369.3 million plus $83.0 million = $4,452.3 times 0.019 = $84.6 million
FY 2021: $4,452.3 million plus $84.6 million = $4,536.9 times 0.019 = $86.2 million

Districts indicated they would spend the following percentages of $200 million largely on existing costs:

Teacher Salaries           33.7%
Non-licensed salaries     9.1%
Health Insurance            7.3%
Licensed non-teachers  4.0%
Maintenance                  2.1%
Utilities                           1.3%
Total                             57.5% times $200 million = $115 million

This means that school districts’ additional spending on current salaries, benefits and on-going costs like maintenance and utilities would increase approximately $30 million more than inflation. ($115 million per year minus approximately $85 million for CPI increase = $30 million per year.)

Teacher salaries: making up for lost ground to inflation, neighboring states

The additional $30 million per year for salaries and other basic operating costs after inflation would allow districts to raise salaries to make up for lost value compared to past inflation and to compete with other states.
Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, Kansas average teacher salaries declined $4,253 from 2010 to 2017 when adjusted for inflation. (Average teacher salary 2010: $52,237 minus average teacher salary 2017: $47,984 = $4,253)
Therefore, it would require approximately $170 million to bring 2017 salaries for current employees back to 2010 levels ($4,253 times 37,812 teachers and licensed support positions in 2016-17 plus approximately 500 positions added this year = $162.9 million).

KSDE told the special school finance committee it estimated school districts increased salaries of current teacher and other positions directly involved with students (counselors, social workers, etc.) this year by $95 million. Subtracting from $162.9 million means it would require an additional $67.9 million to restore teacher salaries to 2010 levels when adjusted for inflation.

Dividing $67.9 million by three years = $22.6 million per year for teacher salaries only, compared to $30 million available after the estimated cost of inflation over the next three years.

Another way to look at salary competitiveness is surrounding states. Governor Brownback set a goal of having the highest teacher salary of the surrounding states. Using the same NCES data, in 2017 Kansas trailed the highest bordering state, Nebraska, by $4,354. Using the same process, it would require an increase of approximately $24 million each of the next three years to reach that level.

(The highest state in the region, Iowa, had average teacher salaries $7,459 higher than Kansas. Using the same process would require $63.6 million each of the next three years. Missouri’s average teacher salary was $309 more than Kansas. Colorado and Oklahoma had lower salaries.)

This assumes other states are increasing teacher salaries at the same estimated rate of inflation, 1.9 percent per year, and Kansas is adding funding to increase salaries at a higher rate. If other states also raise salaries more than inflation, Kansas will require additional funding to overtake them. Also, these calculations are for teacher salaries only, and do not factor in the need for competitive salaries for other school district positions.

Therefore, the school districts’ estimated spending for salaries, benefits, maintenance and utilities out of $200 million per year over three years would cover the estimated rate of inflation, and further allow districts to restore salaries to 2010 levels or match the highest border state, with approximately $6-7 million per year to either exceed the highest bordering states or provide more competitive salaries for other school district positions that have fallen behind inflation and other states.

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