Home > Uncategorized > Kansas’ Solution to a $42,500,000 Revenue Shortfall: An Efficiency Study by a Discredited Firm

Kansas’ Solution to a $42,500,000 Revenue Shortfall: An Efficiency Study by a Discredited Firm

I’ve written earlier posts about Kansas budget woes that resulted from a misguided adoption of trickle down economics, the Governor’s exploration of the idea of replacing the members of the State Supreme Court because they ruled that education funding was unconstitutional, and their horrific curriculum. Today I’m checking in on the latest bad idea from Kansas: spending $2,600,000 on an efficiency study will help them close their budget gap by finding huge savings in the spending in schools. Here’s the summary description of the idea as reported by Peter Hancock of the Lawrence Journal Herald

Last week, state lawmakers finalized a contract with A&M; for nearly $2.6 million to conduct a government efficiency study for the state of Kansas.

The contract calls on A&M; to conduct a “diagnostic analysis” of the current budget, make recommendations for significant cost savings and efficiency, and evaluate the state’s budget process in general based on best practices in both the public and private sectors.

The contract is not clear about how much focus the firm will put on state funding for K-12 education, which accounts for roughly half of all state spending in Kansas.

But it does say that the firm is to develop recommendations that target “areas with large and substantial expenditures of state general funds and where the State can become more efficient and thereby provide cost savings to the State’s taxpayers.”

Hancock examined A&M’s previous contracts and found them wanting.

When A&M tried to apply business principles in St. Louis it saved money by closing 16 schools, privatizing custodial and food services, and using a computerized bus routing system that ignored highway crossings and known drug dens when it assigned bus stops. Oh, and the firm assumed that if costs were cut and taxes lowered more people would move into Saint Louis and the increase in student population would help improve the districts financial picture. One thing they overlooked was that in making their draconian cuts they eliminated programs to the extent that the district lost its accreditation.

The plan A&M developed and implemented to reduce the number of teachers in New Orleans was found to be flawed by the courts. The price tag for that error: $1,500,000,000. My hunch is that A&M needed to charge Kansas $2,600,000 for the study to cover its Errors and Omissions policy!

Every dollar A&M saved came at the expense of a job that paid a decent wage and when decent paying jobs are lost in a community on a large scale it hurts the local economy. The bottom line in all of this is that you cannot run an agency that provides human services the same way you run a business… and “gaining efficiency” often flies in the face of community interests.

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