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Kansas Lawmakers To Begin Work On School Funding Proposals

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio/File photo

Kansas lawmakers will start work this week on a response to a school funding ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court. The decision says there are disparities between school districts and if they aren't fixed by this summer the court could close Kansas schools.

There are plans in both the House and Senate to comply with the ruling, but as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the proposals could cost some districts money.

The Kansas House plan would add millions of dollars more in equalization money and go back to an old formula for equalization. The Senate proposal, from Republican Ty Masterson, doesn’t add any new money.

“Just shuffles it up to where it’s all within the same $4.1 billion. It’s just a redistribution of the dollars,” Masterson says.

Going back to the old equalization formula, even if you add more money like the House plan, will mean less funding for some wealthier districts. The Senate proposal could leave most districts with less money as it works to lower disparities. Some lawmakers would like an equalization plan that holds districts harmless, so none lose funding.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.