school funding

Carla Eckels / KMUW/File photo

Although a new school finance bill is awaiting Gov. Jeff Colyer’s signature, Wichita teachers and administrators still feel uncertain about the future of school funding.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas senators will return Monday to find a school finance fix waiting on their desks, hammered out in the House over the weekend.

The bill undoes an $80 million error inserted last-minute into this year’s school funding bill.

Kansas lawmakers approved an updated $16 billion budget Saturday on a 92-24 vote as they worked through part of the weekend.

The bill amends the spending plans lawmakers approved last year, and includes some targeted increases in state government funding.

It partially restores cuts to higher education from 2016, at a cost of $12 million. It also allocates $8 million to provide raises to workers in the judicial branch.

The bill funnels more money into the state’s pension plan, KPERS, to make up for a missed $194 million payment.

Pittsburg State University / Facebook

Pittsburg State University is cutting 19 jobs.

The number of full-time employees at the university has dropped by more 7 percent when combined with other cuts over the last 18 months. The university is blaming the layoffs on a lack of state funding, rising costs and dropping enrollment.

“We’ve joined with the Kansas Board of Regents in actively advocating for additional state funding for many years,” Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott said in a news release. “Those efforts have clearly, and sadly, not resonated with the legislative leadership."

alamosbasement / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the state Supreme Court for an extra 10 days to file part of his legal defense for a new public school funding law because of a flaw in it.

Schmidt filed a request Thursday to have until May 10 to report to the court on how legislators increased education funding.

The court ruled in October that the state's current education funding of more than $4 billion a year is inadequate and gave Schmidt until April 30 to report on how lawmakers responded.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed an education funding bill despite a multi-million dollar flaw in the bill's language.

Because of an accounting error, the bill calls for a $454 million spending increase, which is $80 million less than intended.

The bill is aimed at addressing a state Supreme Court's ruling that funding for schools is inadequate. A lawyer for the school districts that sued the state said the bill doesn't do enough to address that problem.

Kansas Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer wants lawmakers to fix a costly mistake in the school finance bill passed after midnight on the last day of the regular session.

“It needs to be taken care of,” Colyer said Wednesday. “We’ll work with the Legislature on doing that.”

The error — a byproduct of confusion and deal-making in the session’s final hours early Sunday morning —makes re-engineering the state’s school finance formula more difficult than usual.

woodleywonderworks / flickr Creative Commons

Wichita Public Schools' chief financial officer says the Kansas Legislature’s $500 million school funding plan doesn’t make up for years of cuts.

Alex Starr / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas legislators worked late hours through the weekend to pass a new school finance bill, but the effort may not be enough to please the state Supreme Court.

The bill, which passed 21-19 in the Senate early Sunday, calls for an increase of $534 million in school funding to be phased in over a period of five years.

It's too little, too slow, critics say.

Alan Rupe, lead attorney for the school districts that sued the state over funding, said the bill doesn't meet the criteria laid out by the Supreme Court and that more funding is still needed.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Lawmakers may not know for months whether a deal to pump half a billion dollars into schools goes far enough to end seven years of court battles over whether the state shortchanges Kansas children.

If it falls short, the Kansas Supreme Court could call them back to Topeka this summer with yet another ultimatum to send even more money to local districts.

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