The Kansas Senate has tentatively approved an education funding plan that mostly moves around existing funds, in order to comply with a Supreme Court order to equalize funding between rich and poor schools. For example, under this measure, money currently earmarked for school transportation and online classes will be shifted in order to shore up other parts of the education budget. State Senator Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said they are prioritizing spending.
(“That’s what this job is, that’s what we do is prioritize our spending. And obviously this has become a significant enough priority that we’re shifting resources from other areas,” said Masterson.)
The Senate school funding plan includes policy issues like new licensing rules for teachers. It also prevents the state from spending tax dollars to implement Common Core reading and math standards. Senator Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, made a motion to scrap the policy changes and simply add more money to education funding.
(“It addresses what the court told us to do, and all the rest of this stuff that we have in this bill isn’t necessary,“ said Hensley.)
Hensley proposed using the state's cash reserves to cover the cost of funding public schools but his motion failed. Debate on the plan lasted into the early morning hours. Legislative leaders say they hope to finish work on the issue before lawmakers leave for a month-long break.