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There is an effort at our state capitol to combine the departments of higher education and elementary and secondary education in response to the $500 million short fall in the state budget.
According to the Kansas City Star, “The new agency would inherit the duties of the existing boards, although the Legislature will decide later on much of its power and specific responsibilities.” Whereas increased efficiency and transparency and fluid transition is a tremendous potential outcome, let’s not put the ‘cart before the horse’ here. We need more facts and solid grounding before we rush into such a drastic change. It could be a great effort, but requires more answers before applying a solution.
An article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quotes Senate President Pro-Tem Charlie Shields saying that he filed this bill along with others intended to consolidate state services as ‘shell’ bills because of timing constraints with the intent to ‘fill in the blanks’ later. We applaud our legislators for their efforts towards fiscal responsibility, but we have questions.
I am a Mother with children in our state’s public schools. What parents want and need to know is really quite elementary: How will this proposed merger improve our children’s academic outcomes?
Though many can support the idea of greater efficiencies in streamlined consolidation given the budget shortfall, we must invest the time to research the outcomes that our State School Board Association and others are concerned about. It is a fair and justifiable imperative that we should know with great certainty how educational outcomes will be impacted as well as the economic effects.
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