At least eight school districts in Kansas are closing their doors early for the summer as a result of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) devastating tax cuts, reported Bloomberg.
Janet Neufeld, superintendent of the Twin Valley school district, said that school officials “felt [they] didn’t have a choice.” The district will end the school year 12 days earlier this coming Friday.
“It’s not good for kids, it’s not good for families,” said Neufeld. “But we’re trying to keep the ship from sinking.”
Other Kansas superintendents lamented the massive cuts to the state’s educational budget.
“There have been times when things were tight, but this is the absolute worst I’ve seen it, said Skyline Public Schools superintendent Mike Sanders. Skyline schools will close two days early and “has petitioned the state for emergency cash so it can meet its June payroll.”
The early school closings are the result of the Republican-controlled state legislature and executive branch passing large-scale income tax cuts as part of a Republican “tax experiment” intended to prove that tax cuts promote prosperity. However, the experiment is failing because only the wealthy benefit while schools and low-income individuals suffer.
The tax cuts were approved in 2012 and 2013, the state’s revenue has been in a steady freefall since, and many essential programs have suffered. Other than school budgets dropping, the Kansas state highway fund has lost $130 million.
Those associated with Brownback’s office deny any responsibility for sending the state of Kansas on a downward spiral. But that’s something to be expected. Brownback’s office says there just needs to be more time for the cuts to “take effect,” but the immediate effects are almost crippling.
“Blaming the education block grants may be convenient, but it is not accurate,” said Eileen Hawley, Brownback’s press secretary.
However, Mark Tallman of the Kansas Association of School Boards said state aid can’t hold pace with the school’s operating costs.
Sam Brownback’s tea party “tax experiment” is failing. This is a problem. Creating a tax code that only benefits the wealthy doesn’t magically kickstart prosperity for everyone. The Brownback way is just another twisted, more conservative vision of trickle down economics.