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Group Scrutinizes KS Teacher Benefits Packages

Statehouse 2 smallPhoto by Stephen KorandaA 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 (TRAW-bert) 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 (THEE-sen), 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.

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