Kansas' schools are one of our greatest assets. From early childhood development to post-graduate work, the opportunities we provide to our kids determine not only their future but the future of our state. My wife, Barbara, and I have proudly sent all four of our children to Kansas public schools. We wanted them to receive the kind of outstanding education that leads to fulfilling, prosperous lives as productive Kansas citizens.
An educated citizenry is essential to the success of our society. I understand that school funding is a great engine of economic development and one of the most solid investments we can make in our future. For example, a recent study done by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland concluded that "Education and innovation contributed more to income growth at the state level than other potential factors'.
As a successful small business owner, I know that companies will not locate to an area with poor schools. Businesses will not relocate their workers to an area without a great public education system. Entrepreneurs will not invest in a community that lacks an educated workforce. That's why I voted for the three-year $466 million school finance plan increase during the 2006 legislative session.
Since the outset of this recession, Kansas schools have already endured more than $300 million in cuts from the state. To make matters worse, schools are teaching thousands of more students than they were just a few short years ago. Teaching more kids with less money inevitably hurts the quality of our schools.
I do not support further cuts to Kansas' schools. I have consistently voted against cuts to base aid per pupil in my eight years as a Kansas legislator.
The Kansas Constitution requires that our state government provide an adequate education to all Kansas children. As your governor, I will keep that commitment to our kids, our teachers and the schools that are at the heart of our communities.