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School Funding Plan Makes Fast Progress In Kansas Statehouse

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File Photo

A school funding plan has been making fast progress in the Kansas Legislature, passing out of both House and Senate committees today.

The proposal will cut the general state aid all school districts receive by .5 percent, then redistribute that money to assist poorer school districts. It also takes funding from several other places for a total of $38 million.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson said he believes the bill can win legislative and judicial approval and prevent schools from shutting down.

“Quite frankly, I see this as the only viable option. These negotiations have been so sensitive. I see no other path,” Masterson said.

Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly said she thinks lawmakers can come up with a better plan. She expressed concern that the temporary funding cut to school districts won’t be so temporary.

“I know some of our superintendents think this is for one year and one year only, but I’m not buying that," Kelly said. "I think this will be a permanent reduction in school funding and I think it’s a big mistake."

The legislation could be up for a vote in the full House and Senate as soon as tomorrow.

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.