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Kansas Lawmakers Disagree On So-Called Hold Harmless Provision In School Funding Plan

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The clock is ticking for Kansas lawmakers to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling. The court says if lawmakers haven't reduced inequalities by the end of the month, schools could be closed.

Legislators are considering how to respond, and as Stephen Koranda reports, one disagreement is whether wealthier districts should be protected from losing any state aid.


A so-called hold harmless provision would make sure no Kansas school district loses overall state support. Republican Rep. Erin Davis calls the issue vitally important for her area of Johnson County.

“We have great schools in Olathe and I don’t want to pull the rug out from under them in July when they’re getting ready to ramp up for the next school year,” Davis says.

The court already rejected a funding plan including a hold harmless provision. Republican Rep. Steven Becker says they shouldn’t take a risk submitting another hold harmless plan because they’re so short on time.

“We do not have the luxury of having a plan B. What we submit to the court must pass constitutional muster,” Becker says.

Lawmakers will return to the Statehouse later this week for a special session focused on education issues.

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.