Greg Orman for Kansas

Education

Because we invest in public education, Kansas will be the place where future generations chose to live, work and raise their families.

Education

Greg Orman fully recognizes the invaluable contribution that these selfless and dedicated teachers and instructors make—both Greg’s running mate, Senator John Doll, and Greg’s wife, Sybil Orman, have been career educators and coaches.

Greg will work hard to ensure that local communities, boards and educators are able to focus on increased student performance and closing achievement gaps rather than on the constant fear of funding cuts or how to create an eleventh-hour budget. Greg will treat the education interests of Kansas families, children, and communities as a public good of the greatest value. Because we invest in public education, Kansas will be the place where future generations chose to live, work and raise their families.  

Greg will embrace innovation across the system, creating an outcome-based innovation model while establishing a culture that identifies best practices within and outside the state and shares them broadly with teachers who are, in turn, recognized for these innovations—he will focus on opportunities to improve outcomes and productivity through the use of technology.

Preparing students for a career in Kansas will be our most critical task. Greg will work hard to give all children the necessary skill set for a competitive world—including career and technical education. 

Additionally, keeping education talent in Kansas is crucial—but the state is experiencing difficulty in recruiting teachers given low pay levels in Kansas where average teacher pay is $41k per year versus a national average of $58k. Greg will provide competitive salaries and benefits and ensure that KPERS has the resources to honor its current and future obligations. And Greg will support the state's outstanding teachers' colleges by working to reduce the shortage of STEM, special education and specialty discipline educators with student loan forgiveness programs to reward those teachers who choose to work in the schools of greatest need.

Finally, Greg will ensure that our schools are safe by working with the Kansas Department of Education as the agency to serve as clearinghouse for safety, security best practices and resources; additionally, we will foster coordination between the education community, law enforcement and social services in identifying and abating risks.

Orman said improving K-12 education requires innovative solutions, which he would rather focus on than considering any constitutional amendment

Q&A: Independent candidate for Kansas governor Greg Orman discusses student issues, policy, Brownback

School Finance Reform

Greg will tackle the critical task of bringing Kansas education to adequate funding levels in 2019 and beyond as our Constitution requires. He will also be focused on making sure property taxes remain fair and equitable throughout the state, and will lead the legislature to ensure compliance.

The Courts have often cautioned–and again as recently as June 25–against allowing local option budgets from getting too large to maintain equalization. From what we have observed, we are not certain all legislators fully understand property tax equity. Some appear not to know that a mill is not a mill in different locations across our state. One mill in the richest school district might buy a jumbo jet, while one mill in the poorest district might afford an annual subscription to Scientific American. While an exaggeration, it illustrates the issue that could again get the legislature crosswise with the Constitution if we do not work to maintain a fine balance. Greg will remain vigilant and respect the court’s caution.

Tensions rising around school funding

Local Control of Public Education

Kansans highly value local control—the Kansas Constitution says public schools are to be maintained, developed, and operated by locally elected school boards—and it will remain a main tenant of education policy in an Orman administration. As a practical matter, the state cannot intimately manage every school in Kansas nor would we want it to. Local school boards have up-close, hands-on knowledge of their schools and are best equipped to make decisions that serve the local education community. Currently Topeka looks to local school boards for innovations and successes and failures for all districts to learn from—Greg believes this to be a system that works well

Public Tax Credits for Private Education

Greg recognizes that private schools play an important role in education. But he will not divert taxpayer dollars to subsidize private school tuitions. It’s never in the best interest of Kansas to fund private schools at the expense of public education.

Kansas, as reflected in its Constitution, has always valued education as a necessary public good. The tax credits are a work-around to rob the public good for a few. This kind of logic could lead someone to ask for a property tax credit from the municipal park system to pay for a private club membership. A contribution to a private school scholarship fund is an act of charity and generosity; as such, donors should receive a charitable gift deduction.