After being stalled in committee for weeks, a school funding bill is now moving through the Kansas Legislature. But it’s limping a bit because it’s on its way to the Kansas House without favorable recommendation – something that’s pretty unusual. In the end, the K-12 Budget committee decided to increase spending by $279 million over two years. That's millions less than an earlier version of the bill. And House Democratic Leader Jim Ward says the new amount is way too little to satisfy the state Supreme Court.
The original bill would have added $750 million over five years. Many educators and lawmakers said even that amount wasn’t enough money for schools to be adequately funded.
Sam Zeff of the Kansas News Service has more details:
Kansas House Panel Whittles Down School Funding Plan
A Kansas House committee has whittled down a proposal to increase funding for public schools. The special committee on school finance has approved a proposal to phase in a $280 million increase in spending over two years. The committee started with a plan to increase school funding by $783 million over five years. Now, the smaller plan heads to the full House for debate. Some members questioned whether lawmakers would boost taxes enough to pay for the larger plan. Others said the committee's smaller funding package is inadequate. The education spending plan is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that current education funding is inadequate. The state spends about $4 billion a year on aid to its 286 local school districts. The court did not say how much more the state must spend.
Kansas Legislature's Session Hits 91st Day with 100 Budgeted
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Legislature's annual session has reached its 91st day with leaders having budgeted for 100 days. The session's 90th day was Sunday. That's considered the traditional length. But the Kansas Constitution allows lawmakers to extend sessions past 90 days in even-numbered years and doesn't limit them in odd-numbered years. Session lengths have varied widely over the past decade. A 73-day session last year followed a record 114-day session in 2015. Only six sessions have lasted 100 days or longer, starting with 1990's 100 days. Sessions were 103 days in 1991; 100 in 1992; 107 in 2002 and 100 in 2012 before 2015's record. The 100th day this year is May 24. Lawmakers still have a lot of work to do. They must close budget shortfalls and respond to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling on education funding.