A review of school budgets for the 25 largest districts in Kansas show some big spending increases for the 2018-19 school year, but, predictably, the biggest increases are not planned for instruction.

The four districts shown in the adjacent table – Wichita, Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission and Geary County – each plan single-digit increases for instruction but double-digit jumps for administration. Wichita plans a 6 percent increase for Instruction but a 13 percent jump in administration. Geary County school district plans a 7 percent instruction increase but a 16 percent jump for Administration.

In Johnson County, the imbalance is even more glaring. Shawnee Mission, plans a miserly 1 percent bump in instruction but an 11 hike in administration. Blue Valley budgets a 9 percent jump in instruction but a whopping 33 percent for administration.

This is what happens when the legislature and the administration in Topeka are afraid to hold schools accountable. It’s not known at this writing what the other 21 large districts are planning because they have not yet published budget reports on their web sites.

A few years ago, legislators mandated  districts to publish a specific budget report on their web site and put an easily-identifiable link on the home page so interested parties could find it. Two of the 21 districts in the adjacent table – Maize and Auburn Washburn – failed to provide the home page links. Geary County schools wins the ‘Where’s Waldo’ award for hiding its link in the fine print at the bottom of the page.

Voters and judges are told ‘it’s all about the children’ but in reality, it’s not even about the teachers. It’s about the bureaucrats, the union honchos, the administrators, and their lawyers. As the numbers show, the education lobby has a primary interest in power-grabbing and nest-feathering and only a secondary interest in “instruction.”

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