July 24, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Mainstream Coalition Mainstream? Not Exactly

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The Mainstream Coalition is anything but mainstream.

For more than two decades, the Mainstream Coalition has billed itself as a “rational voice in irrational times.” Initially created to ensure no one ever heard the word “God” uttered in public settings, it has become an organization known for making government a religion. There’s no problem government (and some lobbyists) can’t solve.

A lot of actual mainstream people once believed the organization was filled with normal folks–mainstream, America– just trying to build a coalition. The organization is letting the cat out of the bag with the latest post to the Mainstream Coalition blog.

A board member, David Smith, advocates for new public school funding in a post on the Mainstream Coalition website. Smith is hardly a non-partisan voice for reason. He is the chief lobbyist for the Kansas City, Kansas, School District. In his role lobbying for a district he says is cash strapped, Smith earns more than $130,000 per year working for a district that once spent almost $50,000 for a grand piano.

This is the same district that pays maintenance and other staff salaries 20 to 30 percent more than prevailing market wages. KCK pays an electrician foreman more than $96,000, a clerk of the school board more than $90,000, and a custodian more than $80,000.

Smith once told a group that the state needs to increase education funding so his middle class children can receive a decent education. His lobbyist salary put him in the top 10 percent of earners and within shouting distance of the top 5 percent.

In his guest post for the Mainstream Coalition blog, Smith uses fear mongering to warn that schools are on the verge of closing if legislators don’t pick up the pace.

“We are hopeful that the legislature will act quickly, so that we can avoid any interruption in either our summer programming or our planning for next year. The time is now to get it done. School districts, and kids, can’t wait,” he writes.

The Kansas House adopted a funding formula that will add up to $460 million in new funding for education last week. Lawmakers face a Supreme Court and self-imposed deadline of June 30 to adopt a new funding formula. The Kansas Senate will likely debate a funding formula this week.


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