Former Kansas lawmaker Jim Barnett, who hopes to be the next governor, called Thursday for another $600 million in public school funding.
Barnett’s position could distinguish him from more conservative rivals like Kris Kobach as the Republican primary with well over a dozen candidates heats up.
In strong contrast to Kobach, Barnett praised the 2017 legislature for hiking taxes, a move that paid for this year’s $200 million school funding boost, among other expenses.
But the Topeka resident said after visiting districts around the state, he’s convinced that $200 million wasn’t enough.
"So there's no doubt in my mind that funding is inadequate and funding is inequitable," he said.
He wants to increase funding by $600 million over the next three years. He says that would be enough to end a years-long legal battle with school districts.
That dollar amount is in the ballpark of what districts are calling for.
Celia Llopis-Jepsen is a reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and KCUR covering health, education and politics. You can reach her on Twitter @Celia_LJ.