Home Correction letter The ugly truth doesn’t turn facts into fiction

The ugly truth doesn’t turn facts into fiction

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A recent letter to the editor stated that I had been unfair to my opponent in the race for the 111th district seat at Kansas House. The letter sought to show how my opponent is actually a big supporter of K-12 education and Fort Hays State University.

I thought that instead of writing a letter to set the record straight and ask friends to sign, I would just put my name on it.

In reality, my opponent’s letter was more of a ballgame than it continues to play with education funding in general and Fort Hays State in particular.

My opponent, or her supporters, can claim all they want that she voted for “full constitutional funding” for K-12 education, but the fact is she gave with one hand and taken from the other.

She supported the legislative game that funded the operational side of K-12 education, but then cut special education. They knew — or should have known — that federal and state mandates for special education funding meant school districts would be forced to make up the shortfall by taking money from the operational side.

And let’s be clear what the operational side is – it’s everything from electricity to teacher salaries. The shortfall in the two districts is equivalent to 22.5 teaching positions.

Statewide, the funding bill my opponent voted for was $155 million less than would have effectively satisfied the Supreme Court’s Montoy term. She even voted against — twice — a compromise amendment that would have closed $68 million of the special education deficit.

This letter also goes in the wrong direction on state funding for Fort Hays. Fort Hays State “has received funding for everything it has requested,” the letter says, citing $500,000 for a cybersecurity program and $1.5 million – from Covid funds – for air conditioning. of the Gross Memorial Coliseum.

These budget allocations are presented as proof that she “constantly and vigorously defended the interests of Fort Hays”. But fair and equitable funding is really determined by the size of the institutional block grant.

I think being a consistent and vigorous advocate would involve fighting for fair and equitable funding in the university’s annual block grant – the bulk of its state funding.

The funding problem began when the legislature decoupled enrollment from block grant allocation for Regents institutions.

The problem has worsened as college enrollment has increased throughout nearly two decades of record growth. This enrollment growth was never taken into account in the block grant formula.

A fair and equitable block grant would be an additional $20-30 million each year. A fair and equitable block grant would recognize the tremendous success in growing the university from 6,000 students to nearly 16,000 in about a dozen years.

A consistent and vigorous defender would not accuse the university of cannibalizing Kansas students. A consistent and vigorous advocate would recognize the value of FHSU to the state and its citizens by investing in FHSU’s growth record.

At the end of this year’s legislative session, the state had $2 billion in reserves and $960 million in the rainy day fund. His letter rightly called education “one of the cornerstones of our great state.”

We had the money to fully fund education. Yet my opponent refused even to try to advocate a fix in the block grant process.

I don’t think it’s unfair to point that out. I just think we in the 111th district should have our own attorney, and that’s why I’m running to replace her.

Ed Hammond, D-Hays, candidate for 111th Kansas House