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Governor, Kansas School Officials Agree: Don’t Extend Block Grants

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Stephen Koranda
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KPR/File photo
Gov. Sam Brownback speaks to reporters last year.

Kansas lawmakers have the tall order of writing a new school funding formula this year. There’s already some agreement between the governor and the organization representing school boards: They don’t want the current funding system extended.

Kansas legislators threw out the old school funding formula in 2015 and replaced it with block grants set to expire this year.

Some lawmakers are concerned they might get bogged down writing a new formula and end up extending the block grants. Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s not in favor of that.

“I don’t think we ought to go another year," he says. "I think if people really get out and we get focused on it, this is something that can and needs to get done."

Mark Tallman, associate executive director for advocacy for the Kansas Association of School Boards, says the block grants don’t take into account changes in school districts, and that’s made worse if the grants are extended for another year.

“Some districts that have had high growth in enrollment, changes in their circumstances, just really fall further behind. In our view, it will be harder to implement a new system going forward,” Tallman says.

He says they might support a plan that has to extend part of the block grants because a new formula is being phased in.

Legislators can start tackling the issue when the new session kicks off next week.