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Kansas Senators And House Members Start Work On School Funding Compromise

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Stephen Koranda
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KPR/File photo

Kansas House and Senate negotiators have arrived at the bargaining table to work out a school finance deal.

Senators came to the table Monday with a plan that would add $90 million in school funding each year for the next four years. House leaders brought a proposal for just two years of increases.

But, as Democratic Sen. Anthony Hensley noted, that proposal never got a vote in the House. House leaders canceled a planned vote because there wasn't enough support for the bill.

“I guess we’re going to negotiate some sort of funding solution here, but it better be closer to what the Senate proposed than what the House has not passed,” Hensley said.

Typically, conference committees would only include legislation that has passed at least one chamber.

The top House negotiator, Republican Kristey Williams, said the bill passed a committee and it's appropriate to include it in the discussions.

"We have a committee position," she said. "We're going to go with that position."

The House also narrowly approved a package of policy changes that would modify special ed spending and limit state funding for bilingual education. Those ideas are in the mix as lawmakers hammer out their school finance agreement.

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.