UPDATE: Kansas House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades Resigns Over Education Bill

Mar 31, 2014

Credit Stephen Koranda

Updated Monday, Mar. 31, 2:30 pm: House Speaker Ray Merrick names replacement for Rhodes. 

The House Appropriations Committee's chairman has resigned from the committee because he says he can't support a school funding plan drafted by the chamber's Republican leaders.

Newton Republican Marc Rhoades resigned Monday, just before the start of his committee's hearings on the plan.

The proposal seeks to address two flaws in funding for poor school districts identified by the Kansas Supreme Court in a March 7 ruling in a school funding lawsuit. The court said the state must boost aid to poor districts.

The fix is estimated to cost $129 million, but the House plan would fund part of that increase by adjusting transportation aid to school districts.

Rhoades said even with the offset, the new spending isn't sustainable. "I'm a conservative. I want to use the money for schools as wisely as we can," he said.

He said his resignation allows the bill to move forward.

House Speaker Ray Merrick named Rep. Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, as chairman, and Rep. Marvin Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican, as vice chairman. Rep. Joe Seiwert, a Pretty Prairie Republican, takes Rhoades' place on the committee.