The Kansas House and Senate approved a school funding plan before adjourning for a month-long break. The votes send the bill to Governor Sam Brownback for consideration. The Kansas Supreme Court threatens to close Kansas schools if lawmakers don’t reduce funding inequalities. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.
The bill redistributes state money to reduce funding disparities between Kansas school districts. It makes sure no district loses overall state support, and some districts would get a boost. Legislative leaders believe the plan complies with the court and ensures stable budgets for schools. Republican Representative Don Hineman has reservations about the bill, but he voted for it with the hope of keeping Kansas schools open.
“My fear, though, is that it’s inadequate. My fear is it will not pass judicial muster. Yet, it’s the only option we have before us today and time is running out,” says Hineman.
The hope is that if the court does reject the plan legislators could respond again after their month-long break.
Critics of the bill say it doesn't really fix the disparities because it doesn’t add much funding, it just shuffles money around.
The Kansas House and Senate have approved a school funding plan in response to a state Supreme Court ruling. Justices have threatened to close Kansas schools if funding disparities between districts aren’t reduced.
The plan redistributes funding and makes sure no district loses overall state support. Moderate Republicans like Representative Melissa Rooker helped the bill pass in the House. She admits the proposal may not be the right solution to the funding issues.
“But I do believe that in the spirit of keeping this process in motion to try and resolve the school finance issue and move us toward an outcome that ensures that our public schools remain open in the fall, I’m planning to vote yes,” says Rooker.
Lawmakers have now adjourned after sending the bill to Governor Sam Brownback for consideration. The hope is that if the court does reject the plan legislators could respond again after their month-long break.
Critics of the plan say it doesn't really fix the funding disparities because it just shuffles money around.
The Kansas House and Senate have approved a school funding plan that responds to a state Supreme Court ruling. The legislation will now go to Governor Sam Brownback for consideration. The bill redistributes state dollars to reduce funding disparities between school districts. It also makes sure no district loses overall state support.
Democratic Senator Anthony Hensley says they’re working too quickly on the bill, leading to technical problems that had to be fixed during the debate.
“Since the court order was issued by the court we’ve had 42 days to deal with this issue and we are dealing with it in a matter of 48 hours,” says Hensley.
Republican Senator Ty Masterson says there could be major repercussions if they don’t work fast.
“This isn’t like this was a speed by our choice. There was a dictate of the court with the hammer of closing the schools,” says Masterson
Thursday was the last day of the first part of the legislative session. Lawmakers will now leave for a month-long break as the Kansas Supreme Court considers the plan.