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Senators Consider Next Steps On Kansas School Funding

Stephen Koranda
Former state Senator Jeff King speaking to senators Monday.

An attorney advising the Legislature met with Senators Monday to discuss school funding issues. Lawmakers need to write a new funding formula before ending the session. Former Republican state Sen. Jeff King briefed lawmakers on what might satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.

Lawmakers need to comply with the court, which says the current Kansas school funding system is inadequate. King said lawmakers could tie funding to some sort of index, like the inflation rate, so funding goes up over time.

“I think it’s challenging, because no legislature before has gotten that to the court’s satisfaction, but certainly indexing is helpful,” King said.

King also touched on other strategies for complying with the court, which wants lawmakers to improve student performance, not just add money. One idea caught the ear of Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly.

“The thing I’m really taking away from this, I’m sort of excited about, is that if we invest money in early childhood programs, we can count it,” Kelly said.

King says if they can make a case that early childhood programs meet the court requirements, then the money could be counted as additional school funding.