Cost Functions Should Not be Used to Make Education Spending Decisions

by Kansas Policy Institute


June 1 - Wichita - A cost study recommending a school funding increase upwards of $2 billion survived a peer review by a scholar the Legislature hired; but, another respected school finance scholar says cost studies should not be used to set funding levels.

Benjamin Scafadi, Ph.D., a professor of economics and director of the Education Economics Center at Kennesaw State University, says, “cost function studies do not provide valid and reliable estimates of the minimum 'cost' of achieving a given outcome.” 

Knowing the Legislature’s WestEd cost study would define the conversation on education spending and impact further judicial proceedings, Kansas Policy Institute partnered to do an independent peer review with Dr. Scafidi.  His findings disprove the notion that spending more money causes student achievement to improve. 

In response to the Kansas Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Gannon V case, the Kansas Legislature recently contracted with a vendor conducting a $285,000 study to analyze the “cost” of educating public school students in grades K-12. The Legislature asked the vendor, WestEd, to “estimate the minimum spending required to produce a given outcome within a given educational environment.” WestEd used a “cost function” approach to estimate the costs of providing students in each public school in Kansas with an adequate education. 

Dave Trabert, president of the Kansas Policy Institute, commented, “These cost studies may be done with the best of intentions, but they fail to provide results that are useful in guiding policy decisions. In practice they only take a partial look at one variable – spending – and ignore all other variables that impact learning.”

Scafadi said, “The estimates vary widely and do not track with historical data on spending and achievement.” The review outlined the reasons why supposed “cost” functions do not provide valid and reliable estimates of the minimum “cost” of achieving a given outcome.

“One glaring problem we found with the WestEd study is that researchers do not have access to data on all external factors that impact the cost of educating students.” Trabert said.

Scafidi’s study for Kansas Policy Institute included in its exhaustive review a complete recommendation of best practices that should be performed to “check carefully for robustness and reliability of results.”

His data determined it unreasonable to conclude that giving the Kansas public school system, as currently constituted, a large boost to spending would significantly improve student outcomes.

“Given the vast sums of taxpayer funds at stake, the Kansas Governor, Legislature, and the State Supreme Court should implement the five best practices, as laid out in my review, to discover the truth about the relationship between spending and valuable student outcomes.” Scafadi concluded.




Editor's Note: Such mathematical games accomplish little more than feed the lawyers who feast on endless court decisions that force the Kansas Legislature to raise taxes violating both the separation of powers and the people's right to determine fiscal policy.

Clinton Foundation a charitable fraud.. in trouble

by Staff & Anonymous


Have you wondered why the Clinton Foundation stumbled so suddenly after Hillary was no longer in a position of influence?

Perhaps this summary will provide some insight?? The Federalist reports: "The tax records, which were filed with the IRS in November of 2015, show that the Clinton Foundation spent far more on overhead expenses like travel ($7.9 million) than it did on charitable grants in 2014. The group also spent more on rent and office supplies (a total of $6.6 million) than it did on charitable grants. The Clinton Foundation’s IRS forms show that even its depreciation expense ($5.3 million) — an accounting classification that takes into account the wear and tear of an organization’s assets — exceeded the tax-exempt organization’s charitable grant outlays". 

Form 990 indicates the foundation spent only 5.65 percent on charitable donations and 94.35 percent on overhead expenses.
From their 2014 990 Tax Form; they list 486 employees (line 5)!  It took 486 people who are paid $34.8 million and $91.3 million in fees and expenses, to give away $5.1 MILLION in charitable funds.

The real heart of the Clintons can be seen here.  Staggering but not surprising.. These figures are from an official copy of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation for the tax year 2014. The copy of the tax return is from the National Center for Charitable Statistics web site. http://nccs.urban.org/  You can obtain the latest tax return on any charitable organization there.

The Clinton Foundation:   Number of Employees (line 5)  486
Total revenue (line 12)  $177,804,612.00
Total grants to charity (line 13) $5,160,385.00  (this is less than 3%)
Total expenses of  $91,281,145.00

Expenses include:
Salaries (line 15) $34,838,106.00
Fund raising fees (line 16a) $850,803.00
Other expenses (line 17) $50,431,851.00    HUH??????

Net assets/fund balances (line 22)  $332,471,349.00…  So it required 486 people, who were paid $34.8 million, plus $91.3 million in fees and expenses, to give away $5.1 MILLION!

Investors Business Daily gives an indepth report on the Clinton Crime Foundation from money laundering to the Steele Dossier on Trump to the Ressian Uranium deal.

And they call this a CHARITY?

(It is alleged that this is one of the greatest white-collar crimes ever committed. And just think---one of the participants was a former  president and one (gasp!) wanted to be elected president of the United States.  If justice was truly served they would both be in prison).

The greatest white collar crime of all time.