Education is the thing in Governor’s race

WICHITA, Kansas – Voting for Governor? Education is the thing.

“It probably will be surprising to viewers to see the incumbent Governor in a hole right now. But really it shouldn’t be,” says KSN political expert Jeff Jarman. “There has been a lot of bad press for the Governor.”

Jarman is breaking down a KSN News Poll by SurveyUSA that shows Republican Governor Sam Brownback is behind challenger Paul Davis 41-47%. Davis is a Democrat from the Kansas House. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

“And overwhelmingly, likely voters in the November primary say education is the issue on which they will vote,” explains Jarman. ” From all that people are hearing now, that (Governor’s stance on education) hasn’t worked. So I think there’s a real frustration on the part of people that we (state of Kansas) have made a bad decision and it might be getting worse.And (Paul) Davis is getting votes, I think, because people think it’s time to change the course we are on.”

The Governor led the way with some Republicans in Topeka this year on education funding. Some teacher groups have long-held the Governor’s stance on education is not good for the state, saying more money is needed for education.

Indeed, Governor Brownback did lead the way in funding more money for education. Under Sam Brownback’s leadership, schools got about $90 million more. And Brownback points to the local option budget as a way for schools to raise their own money if they want more.

But there have been several lawsuits over school funding in Kansas. There is a new one on the way.

Challenger Davis says he would  take a different approach. Davis tried to introduce a school finance plan in Topeka this year that would have funded K-12 education  to the tune of a couple hundred million more than the Brownback plan.

Davis says the numbers showing him in the lead are no surprise.

“I think it validates what I’m hearing around the state, which is a great deal of frustration with Governor Brownback’s leadership and the fact that the state is not heading in the right direction,” says Davis. “People are concerned about our schools. They’ve seen Governor Brownback (and the) cuts to our schools. They’re concerned about the state of our economy.”

After our KSN News Poll was released, Governor Brownback’s office emailed KSN to offer another statement.

The statement says school finance has not been cut under Brownback’s leadership. It says funding for schools has  increased each year for K-12 education the Governor has been in office.

KSN News Polls will continue. Click KSN for updates.

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