Newton Superintendent Dr. John Morton is good at math but Governor Sam Brownback's plan for education has him perplexed.

In it, Brownback says he's giving more money to schools.

He wants to increase state spending per pupil from $4,549 to $4,743.

Good news for students, right?

School officials say no. "It’s almost like smoke and mirrors kind of deal," says Dr. John Morton.

Here's why, Brownback wants to cut base state aid from $4,012 per student to $3,780, it’s this money schools say is most important.

"We can do all this over here and that gives the illusion that base state aid goes up but the reality is we're going to lost $75 on the base and then $157 on the base next year," says Dr. Morton.

So, how can the governor say schools will get more money?

He's including teacher retirement, capital projects and debt payments in the cost per pupil.

"Are those things that need to be done? Absolutely but not at the expense of direct instructional cost," says Dr. Morton.

In other words, while adding money for retirement and other things is great, Morton says he's disappointed the governor wants to cut from is the classroom.
"Education is economic development, it is an investment not a liability," says Dr. Morton.

Which is why he would like to see the state focus on developing a long range plan for education instead of how to just get by now.

Morton estimates his school district would lose more than one-million dollars under this plan.

At this point, he has no idea where that money would come from.

The key issue in education funding is the expected loss of $200 million in federal stimulus dollars after July 1, when the new fiscal year begins. Brownback isn't proposing to replace all of those funds. The state faces an overall budget gap of $550 million.

You can read the budget proposal for yourself and see what other cuts the governor wants to make on the left side of this story.