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Kansas House Appropriations Committee Starts Hearings Over Education Funding

The Kansas House Appropriations Committee will start hearings Monday on a budget bill to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling over education funding.

However, the bill will cover more than just school spending.

The budget bill before the committee includes other policy items like rewriting teacher licensure rules. Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, told committee members last week about the broad scope of the discussion.

"I'm not going to hold back discussion on anything. And so, bring it. Bring it next week and we'll have a discussion on it. And if you have people you want to testify, have them sign up," says Rhoades.

An expansion of charter schools in Kansas could also be included in the discussion. But some education advocates aren't happy with the wide-ranging topics. Mark Desetti is with the Kansas National Education Association, the state teachers' union.

"I think it's inappropriate to deal with policies in a budget bill. That's not where you deal with policy. These things have not been through the education committees, that's where they belong," says Desetti.

The Kansas Supreme Court says the state created unconstitutional funding disparities between wealthy and poorer school districts when lawmakers cut certain types of education funding.