education funding

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Wichita Public Schools' budget for this year has been proceeding according to plan. Next year, though, is another story.

On Monday night, Susan Willis, chief financial officer for the district, told school board members that budget planning for the 2017-18 school year is "the perfect storm of unknowns."

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have the tall order of writing a new school funding formula this year to replace temporary block grants. The work so far has been behind the scenes.

There have been school funding proposals introduced in the Kansas Legislature, but committees have yet to advance any plans.

Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman says he wants something that’s sustainable and is predictable when it comes to costs for the state and funding for schools. Ryckman wants to have a plan in place by April, but that’s not a hard deadline.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

A Kansas Senate committee has advanced a budget plan that would cut education spending significantly to help balance the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends in June. The state faces a budget shortfall of more than $300 million in the current year.

Republican Senate leaders say it's part of long-term plan to get the state budget on solid financial footing. Critics say it would mean major cuts to education with just months left in the fiscal year.

Brad Wilson / flickr Creative Commons

In the basket of thorny issues facing Kansas lawmakers, how to fund public education is certainly among the thorniest.

Stephen Koranda

It’s taken a couple of weeks, but the Kansas Legislature is finally tackling one of its toughest problems - how to fund public schools.

One bill is from Rep. Melissa Rooker, a moderate Republican from Fairway who has been working on a new formula with other lawmakers since the summer.

She says it will look a lot like the old formula with a per pupil allocation and extra money for things like English language learners.

“It’s a new and improved formula that is styled in the manner of the old formula as, I think, a reasonable starting point,” Rooker says.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

One critical part of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget-balancing plan is creation of a statewide health insurance pool that Kansas public school teachers would have to join.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

Some top Republican legislators in Kansas are looking to cut aid to public schools significantly to close a shortfall in the state's current budget by June 30.

Their goal is to avoid the accounting moves proposed by GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and used in the past to cover budget holes.

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Carolyn McGinn said Friday that she's working on a bill to cut spending to close the projected $342 million shortfall in the state's current budget. The Sedgwick Republican said she hopes to have it drafted next week.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Lawmakers have the tall order of creating a new school funding system for Kansas public schools: The temporary block grants that have been funding schools are set to expire this year. Stephen Koranda reports on how legislators might begin the process.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback laid out new policy proposals and budget plans during his State of the State address Tuesday. Even though Kansas faces a budget deficit adding up to almost a billion dollars by next year, the governor began his speech by showcasing some of the state's strong points. KPR's Stephen Koranda reports.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have the tall order of writing a new school funding formula this year. There’s already some agreement between the governor and the organization representing school boards: They don’t want the current funding system extended.

Kansas legislators threw out the old school funding formula in 2015 and replaced it with block grants set to expire this year.

Some lawmakers are concerned they might get bogged down writing a new formula and end up extending the block grants. Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s not in favor of that.

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