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Kansas Senate Advances School Finance Bill

Kansas Statehouse (Photo by J. Schafer)

The Kansas Senate is slated to take final action on a school finance plan later today (WED). After 10 hours of debate, the Senate advanced a school funding bill on a voice vote around midnight. Despite all the debate, Senators ended up roughly where they started on Tuesday with a bill that would add $234 million in new money for K-12 schools over two years. The dollar figure is almost $50 million less than the House version. Democratic leader Anthony Hensley tried to add tens of millions to the Senate bill, suggesting the state Supreme Court would require it.

That amendment failed handily. Conservative Republicans attempted to cut more than $60 million by striking an all-day kindergarten provision -- that failed by a wide margin too. While the House and Senate aren’t in agreement on how much to spend on schools, the actual funding formulas are very similar. The differences will have to be worked out in a conference committee.

(AP version)

Kansas Lawmakers Move Closer on Funding Schools, Remain Divided on Taxes, Budget Fix

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are moving closer to approving a plan to increase state spending on public schools even as agreement keeps eluding them on raising taxes. The Senate gave first-round approval just after midnight to a bill phasing in an increase in education funding of roughly $230 million over two years. Senators planned to take final action today (WED). The House has its own plan to phase in a $285 million increase over two years. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in March that the state's $4 billion a year in education funding is in adequate. Outside of school funding, Kansas faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019. But the House voted 85-37 against a bill to raise $1.2 billion over two years with higher income taxes.

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