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2015 KS State of the State Focuses on Education Funding

Educators gather in the Statehouse for the speech. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Governor Sam Brownback says the state should rewrite the funding formula for Kansas K-12 schools. In the 2015 State of the State address, Brownback criticized the current funding formula for being too complex and not focused on classroom spending. He said lawmakers should repeal it and instead send money directly to school districts.

“So it can be spent where it’s needed most, and that’s in the classroom. At the same time the Legislature should repeal the existing school finance formula, and allow itself sufficient time to write a new modern formula,” says Brownback.

More than 100 teachers gathered in the Statehouse wearing red shirts to hear the speech. Sherri Schwanz, from Lansing, is a choir teacher who’s on leave to serve as the vice president of the KNEA, the state’s largest teachers union. She says money spent outside the classroom is still important because it pays for staff like counselors.

“It affects the students. The working conditions of the teachers and the support staff are the learning conditions for our students,” says Schwanz.

Democrats contend the current school finance formula works, it just isn’t properly funded.

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