Kansas Legislators Split How To Raise Budget Enough To Satisfy Supreme Court Ruling On Education

Mar 14, 2014

Members of the House and Senate budget committees say it's unlikely that lawmakers will increase the overall budget by the full $129 million dollars needed to cover deficiencies in aid to poor school districts.

Last week, The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that past reductions in such aid created unconstitutional gaps in funding between poor districts and wealthier ones.

The court ordered lawmakers to fix the problems by July 1st.

Several Republican legislators said they doubt the state can fully tap cash reserves to cover the costs. They'd prefer to shift education funds around or cut other parts of the budget.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis says Governor Sam Brownback and the Legislature should add the money to the budget, rather than shifting funds.

Governor Brownback has repeatedly noted the state had virtually no cash reserves when he took office in 2011. Those reserves had risen to more than $700 million dollars by the end of June.

The Legislature's research staff projects those reserves will be gone by 2017, largely because of personal income tax cuts enacted at Brownback's urging.

Representative Davis says the state should use its reserves to fix the school funding deficit.