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Report Says Student Scores Rise And Fall With Funding

Shannan Muskopf, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas students' scores on national reading and math scores tended to rise and fall along with school funding levels, according to a report by the Kansas Association of School Boards.

The board says student performance on national math and reading tests improved between 2003 and 2007 before leveling off until 2011, when it began to fall, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

The board's analysis, which was presented to lawmakers by association advocacy director and lobbyist Mark Tallman during a meeting Tuesday, found that the performance trend follows funding patterns.

"These results to us indicate that on average, general tendency, the states that spend more on these factors have better results. That's true of all students," Tallman said.

The report found that auditors were more than 99 percent confident a relationship exists between spending and performance outcomes.

In a separate meeting Tuesday, the K-12 Student Success Committee met to gather and analyze information that will likely be used in upcoming discussions about a potential new spending formula next year for state schools. During that meeting, Republican Rep. Jerry Lunn said spending in K-12 from 2012 to 2015 had increased by $312 million.

"Which tells me that there's really not a great correlation between how much you spend and the outcome you generate," Lunn said.

Kansas State Department of Education deputy commissioner Brad Neuenswander expressed concern over the direction of Kansas test scores, and said that the state is seeing the performance gap widening again between students who can pay for lunch and students who cannot.

"What's concerning to us is in 2013, starting in 2012, we started to see a dip in performance. And it's actually the first time in probably 10 years we're actually seeing the gap widening again between students that can't pay for their lunches and students that can," Neuenswander said.