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Legislative Leaders Release Block Grant Plan for K-12 Schools

Sen. Ty Masterson explains the proposal at the Kansas Statehouse. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Republican leaders in the Kansas Legislature have unveiled a plan to toss out the current school funding formula and go to a block grant system for the next two years.

Republican Ty Masterson chairs the Senate’s budget writing committee. He says the bill would increase spending by $300 million for Kansas K-12 schools.

“And this is designed to created certainty over a period of time while a new formula can be developed. It’s predictable, stable and it will be flexible,” says Masterson.

Around half the funding increase would go to the state’s pension plan for school employees. Money would also go to help equalize property tax revenue between districts.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Association of School Boards, Mark Tallman, says there are still many details in the plan that need to be reviewed. He is questioning where the money for the funding increase will come from, as the state is currently facing a budget deficit.


Republican leaders of the Kansas House and Senate have introduced a plan to throw out the current school funding formula and replace it with a system of block grants. The goal of the two-year plan is to give lawmakers a chance to craft a new funding formula for K-12 schools. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, some Republicans argue the current funding plan needs a rewrite.


Republican Senator Ty Masterson says the block grants will give Kansas schools some consistency as lawmakers consider their options.

“To implement a brand-new formula immediately has all kinds of unintended consequences. We could overlay theoretical new formulas for the next two years and see how they would react,” says Masterson.

Masterson says the plan includes $300 million in funding increases over two years.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says he’s encouraged by the promise of new spending, but he questions how they’ll manage an increase when the state faces a deficit.

“If this is more money than even the governor has proposed, then the question becomes where’s the revenue going to come from?” says Tallman.

The Senate’s top Democrat calls the plan “accounting gimmicks” and says it wouldn’t really boost classroom spending.

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