© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Group Scrutinizes Kansas Teacher Benefit Packages

A survey of school districts in Kansas by an efficiency commission has raised some questions about benefits paid to school district employees. The survey from the K12 Performance and Efficiency Commission showed differences in retirement and other benefits offered to employees.

Dave Trabert is a commission member and he also heads the Kansas Policy Institute, a think tank advocating for what they call a "low-tax, pro-growth environment."

He questions the higher benefits packages offered by some districts.

"How much should the Legislature be obligated to spend? And if they want to do those things, is that something they should go to local taxpayers (for)? Because this, again, is money that would otherwise be available for the classroom."

But another member of the commission, Wichita East High School Principal Ken Thiessen, says you need to look at the entire compensation package. He says limiting certain benefits may not save money.

"And so then that's part of the negotiated agreement as to how the money's paid out to the employees, which then means in some districts there's very little is paid out in the benefits, but that means they receive maybe more in salary," says Thiessen.

The commission is looking for ways schools could operate more efficiently. They could finalize their recommendations during a meeting in mid December.

As the Kansas News Service managing editor, I help our statewide team of reporters find the important issues and breaking news that impact people statewide. We refine our daily stories to illustrate the issues and events that affect the health, well-being and economic stability of the people of Kansas. Email me at skoranda@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.