While we’ve been profiling all five Blue Valley high schools this week - sharing statistics that show our BV students have exceeded state and national standards on college entrance exams - a paid employee of the Kansas Policy Institute (KPI) has been frantically targeting our parent volunteer organization on social media and elsewhere.
KPI’s Dave Trabert - who is PAID to lobby against Kansas public schools, distort facts, and twist data into misinformation - is amping up his rhetoric ahead of November’s Blue Valley School Board election. Last week, Trabert named our parent volunteer organization in KPI’s newsletter, on social media, and in conservative chat channels. He even went on a local conservative radio talk show to lie about Stand Up Blue Valley and disparage our grassroots advocacy efforts. Several SUBV members have brought these lies to our attention, and we want to address them.
Why would KPI’s Dave Trabert falsely claim on a radio show that Stand Up Blue Valley does not disclose our funding sources? Trabert knows we file regular finance reports with the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. But guess what group does NOT disclose their donors? The Kansas Policy Institute - Trabert’s employer.
Trabert doesn’t want you to know that KPI is organized as a 501(c)3, so it is NOT REQUIRED to disclose the source of its funding; SourceWatch reported that KPI is tied to the Kochs and part of “a web of right-wing ‘think tanks’ and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom,” and reported their 2018 financials in excess of $1 million.
Fact: Stand Up Blue Valley is a 100%-volunteer group of parents and concerned citizens. We operate on a shoestring budget. All donations to SUBV, and our expenditures, are reported to the KS SOS. ***It is KPI that keeps THEIR funding sources SECRET.***
Why did Trabert falsely describe Stand Up Blue Valley as “a lobbying group” in a KPI publication and on talk radio?
Fact: Stand Up Blue Valley is NOT a lobbying group, nor are we paid. Trabert and other KPI employees actually DO *lobby against* Kansas public schools multiple times over every legislative session, and in between. Lobbying is their actual JOB, for which they are paid. In legislative committees, KPI speakers are often given preferential treatment with longer speaking times - and even unopposed speaking slots, by committee chairs who are backed by the same dark-money funders as KPI is. When Stand Up Blue Valley parent volunteers testify in Topeka regarding the harmful effects of certain legislation on our students and their schools, we take time away from our real jobs and families to do so. Unlike Trabert and other KPI employees, nobody pays us to do this.
Our volunteer organization has worked for over 8 years to get reasonable legislators elected from the Blue Valley area. We’ve supported candidates from both major political parties who value our community’s public schools. We also support the election of qualified school board members who have previously demonstrated involvement with Blue Valley Schools and our community, have sent their kids to Blue Valley Schools, and who are NOT backed by anti-public-education groups like KPI, Americans For Prosperity and - more recently - Moms For “Liberty.” Advocating for and supporting our kids’ schools is our agenda. Period.
Fact: Stand Up Blue Valley supports necessary funding for our students and teachers, opposes voucher programs, and fights back against ongoing efforts to privatize our community’s award-winning public schools. Trabert wants you to think that he cares about YOUR taxes when his actual job is to lobby for tax cuts that benefit the billionaires who fund KPI. He wants you to think he cares about students and teachers, when he is PAID to lobby AGAINST the school funding that impacts your student’s class size and generates teachers’ salaries and benefits.
We’ve written about Dave Trabert and KPI and their anti-Blue Valley agenda before - here’s one example:
And here’s a post from Game On for Kansas Schools exposing some of Trabert’s work against Kansas public schools:
Our members count on SUBV to sort through information they don’t have time to sort through. How legislators really vote, who bankrolls their campaigns, how different buckets of money are allocated at the state and school district level. We boil all that information down for our members so they won’t be misled by candidates who claim to support our kids and their schools, but who really don’t.
As the School Board election approaches, we’ll be talking more about how school funding works. We’ll examine the *actual votes* of Kansas Legislators and Blue Valley School Board members who are backed by KPI, Americans For Prosperity, and Moms For Liberty. We’ll remind you: candidates can SAY they’ll do anything. In making your voting decisions, you need to know what they really can do. And you need to know who Dave Trabert REALLY is.