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Kansas Lawmakers Consider Blocking State Aid for School District Athletic Facilities

Representative Ron Highland speaking to reporters earlier this year. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Kansas Lawmakers are continuing work on a bill that would allow the state to deny financial assistance for some school district building projects. The legislation says a state panel should review school district construction projects and only award state aid for buildings directly related to student instruction. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.

The latest proposal would deny Kansas tax dollars for athletic facilities. Republican Representative Ron Highland offered the plan. He says if a school district wants an Olympic swimming pool, local taxpayers should pay for it.

“If you want that, and your community feels you need that, then let them help pay for that. But as far as having the taxpayers in some other community help pay for that, I don’t think that’s fair,” says Highland.

Democratic Representative Ed Trimmer says that will create inequality. Wealthy districts would still be able to build state-of-the-art athletic facilities.

“Poor districts will not be able to do that, which means those students involved in those activities will be at a disadvantage,” says Trimmer.

A committee will continue work on the bill later this week.

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