Kansas Association Of School Boards Opposes New School Funding Plan

Mar 14, 2019

A Kansas school boards group plans to oppose an education funding bill that it says likely won’t end a long-running court battle over how much the state spends.

Like the governor’s proposal, Republican Rep. Kristey Williams says her plan would increase funding by $90 million next fiscal year to respond to a court ruling that says education spending is inadequate. But Williams says her proposal would target more of that money to struggling students.

“We actually targeted the money, in part, for at-risk funding, for those things that would be most beneficial at perhaps helping our students succeed,” she says. The bill also wipes out future funding increases already in state law. Mark Tallman with the Kansas Association of School Boards says that creates potential legal problems in the school finance lawsuit.

"I think it is likely a step backward,” he says. “We think it is much farther away from wrapping up the school finance issue.”

Republican leaders in the House say they want to focus on how education dollars are spent, and they don’t want to approve long-term funding plans the state can’t afford.

A House committee is holding hearings on the bill starting this week and could debate the legislation as soon as next week.

The Senate is considering a different school spending plan supported by Gov. Laura Kelly, which would add around $90 million per year for four years. The KASB is in favor of that bill.

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

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