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Witness Says Kansas Schools Underfunded

Dr. Bruce Baker
Peter Hancock

An expert witness in the ongoing school finance trial says Kansas is under-funding public schools by thousands of dollars per pupil each year. 

But attorneys defending the state are challenging that testimony, as well as the credibility of the witness.

Dr. Bruce Baker is a researcher from Rutgers University who formerly taught at the University of Kansas.  Using a variety of statistical methods, he argued that Kansas is currently under-funding public schools by nearly $2,000 per-pupil, or about $1.5 billion a year. 

Attorneys defending the state tried to impeach Baker’s testimony by introducing a video from the activist group Project Veritas. That group is known for its undercover, hidden-camera investigations that catch news organizations and liberal activists making embarrassing statements. 

The video purportedly showed Baker agreeing to accept payments for producing reports that would be favorable to an Ohio teachers union. Baker denied the suggestion.

Baker said the producers used selective editing to take his comments out of context. 

The panel of judges hearing the trial did not allow the tape to be played in court, but did allow the state’s attorney to question Baker about its contents.

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