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Kansas Lawmakers Must Overcome Divisions To Reach School Funding Agreement

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Stephen Koranda
/
KPR

Kansas lawmakers will return to the Statehouse later this week for a special session focused on education spending, and they’ll have to overcome some significant divisions to reach an agreement. The state Supreme Court says they need to reduce inequalities among school districts by the end of the month or schools could close.

Some Kansas lawmakers say the answer is simple: Appropriate nearly $40 million for a certain type of school aid to fix the problem. Others will only agree to that if it includes a so-called hold harmless provision that guarantees no district loses overall state support, but there are legal questions about that. Still other legislators say the court is overstepping its bounds and lawmakers should push back.

“It’s time we stood up for our constitutional authority," says Republican Rep. John Rubin. "I, for one, plan to vote against any proposal of any way, shape or form that will add one more dollar to schools."

The special session kicks off Thursday, just a week until the deadline the court set to fix the issue.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.