Kansas' public schools could receive a slight increases in per-student spending starting in fiscal year 2015.
The State House Appropriations Committee accepted a subcommittee's report on K-12 spending Monday morning. The subcommittee's budget allocates more than $3 billion dollars for all public schools. Funding per pupil would remain at $3,838 for fiscal year 2014 but would increase marginally by $14 per pupil starting July 1, 2014.
The Kansas Senate could vote on Gov. Sam Brownback's tax proposal this week, but it is unclear if the provision that cuts income tax rates can pass the House.
To balance the budget, the bill would eliminate some income tax deductions and keep the sales tax elevated. But Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, says House members are cool to keeping the sales tax.
“Of course we’re a long way from the finish, and the finish changes a lot of thinking, but right now I don’t see a lot of appetite out here to retain the sales tax,” he says.
On Friday, Republican leaders in the Kansas House there's little support in their chamber for Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal to raise additional sales tax revenue.
House Speaker Ray Merrick of Stilwell and Majority Leader Jene Vickrey of Louisberg said the measure proposed by Gov. Brownback does not seem viable.
Brownback wants to cancel a decrease in the sales tax scheduled for July. The 6.3% tax is set to drop to 5.7%. The governor would use that added revenue to stabilize the state budget, so that he could eliminate individual income taxes over the next four years.
A committee in the Kansas Senate continued hearings Thursday on a constitutional amendment that could block some lawsuits over school funding. The proposed change to the state Constitution says only the Legislature can set school spending levels.
Lawmakers are considering the change in response to lawsuits filed by parents and school districts over funding. Republican Senator Steve Abrams said earlier this week that the amendment would make it clear that lawmakers set the level of funding for education and courts can’t order spending increases.