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Senate Committee Preparing For Talks On School Funding Amendment

Michael B.
flickr Creative Commons

Lawmakers are considering a change to the Kansas Constitution in response to lawsuits over school funding.

About eight years ago, a lawsuit ended with an agreement to increase spending on students. But lawmakers cut back when the economy slowed, which rekindled the legal battle. 

Now, some Legislators are proposing a constitutional amendment that would give them the power to determine what is a suitable level of funding.

The Senate Judiciary Committee got a refresher course on school funding lawsuits in preparation for working on the amendment. Senator Greg Smith, an Overland Park Republican, said he wants proof that more funding equals better student outcomes.

"Where’s the hard data that shows me if we spend $4492 on every single kid in the state of Kansas, they’re all going to pass and have a great education?” asked Smith.

The courts came up with the $4492 per student figure in part based on a study, which some senators have questioned. Senator Pat Pettey, a Kansas City Democrat, says perhaps some lawmakers just don’t like the outcome of the study.

“Sometimes we tend to question when the results don’t come out the way we want,” he said.

The committee could start hearings on the proposed constitutional amendment later this month.