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Tallman says money matters and most in Kansas agree where it needs to go, though data isn’t definitive

More data has been released supporting the idea that additional educational spending helps improve outcomes.

“There’s often a lot of debate over the question of how much money matters,” said Mark Tallman, Vice President for Advocacy with the Kansas Association of School Boards. “There were four new studies that have been released recently that look at a number of different states and circumstances. What they all found is, that by different ways of measuring additional resources, in each case they found a positive impact on students, at least some students.”

In Texas and in Wisconsin, researchers found that spending more translated to higher test scores and boosted college enrollment. Two other studies, including one in California and another looking across seven states, found that spending more money didn’t affect test scores in more affluent areas, but did boost test scores in higher-poverty districts.

“Simply providing more funding for schools with no attention to where it goes or how you use it, does not guarantee you’ll get better results, but the reality is, that’s not usually what happens.”

Tallman believes there is a general consensus as to where Kansas schools should spend the additional money they have gotten through court decisions and legislative action.

“We know we need to have competitive salaries for our staff, if we’re going to have good people,” said Tallman. “We know that we have gaps in how students are performing and those gaps are related to conditions like poverty and disability, social circumstances that affect kids. We know kids need to be healthy and in a safe environment if they’re going to learn. We know we’ve got to do a better job of getting kids prepared for post-secondary education, better prepared for the rest of their life, because jobs are changing.”

The studies don’t provide clear answers on how to best use new resources.

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