education funding

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

House lawmakers have passed a new spending plan for Kansas schools, on a vote of 84-39. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas House debated a new school finance plan for five hours Wednesday, taking up two dozen amendments and finally voting 81-40 to advance a bill not much different from the one that had come out of committee. The measure is slated to get a final vote in the House Thursday. Then it will be the Senate’s turn.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Members of the Kansas House are debating a new plan to fund the state’s schools. The bill would add $280 million more in school funding over two years. House members rejected a Democratic proposal that would have added $600 million for schools over three years. Supporters said adding more money could help satisfy the state Supreme Court's order to adequately fund education. Critics of the idea said it would require a huge tax increase or spending cuts to other services. Republican Majority Leader Don Hineman opposed the plan.

alamosbasement / flickr Creative Commons

As Kansas lawmakers try to hammer out a new school funding plan, one state senator says she has a way to save money: Stop educating kids from other states.

Most don’t know it, but this year Kansas is paying to educate 624 students from bordering states.

The state Department of Education estimates that costs Kansas taxpayers about $3.5 million a year.

Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Republican from Louisburg, says Kansans shouldn’t be paying for this.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A divided K-12 Budget Committee passed out a school funding plan for Kansas schools that essentially nobody likes.

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

When Kansas lawmakers started this legislative session in January, most agreed that comity was back, partnerships would be forged and work would get done.

That was then, and this is now.

A trio of challenges remain as the Legislature on Sunday passed the 90-day mark in its session: a budget, a tax plan and a school funding formula.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Another long committee hearing, another day without a Kansas school finance bill.

The committee chairman, Rep. Larry Campbell from Olathe, kept saying all week the panel would kick out a school funding plan by Friday.

It didn’t happen.

After spending most of the afternoon on two amendments, Campbell adjourned the committee and moved its deadline to Monday.

The committee did approve an amendment that puts more money into at-risk student funding, a contentious issue that passed by one vote.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

The Kansas Legislature isn’t close to coming up with a school funding formula.

However, lawmakers are working on a bill that looks a lot like the formula they scrapped in 2015 for block grants.

That bill, and the struggle this session to write it, is not just back to the future, but back 25 years to the future. That’s when another school funding suit bogged down the session.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

An attorney advising the Legislature met with Senators Monday to discuss school funding issues. Lawmakers need to write a new funding formula before ending the session. Former Republican state Sen. Jeff King briefed lawmakers on what might satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court.

Lawmakers need to comply with the court, which says the current Kansas school funding system is inadequate. King said lawmakers could tie funding to some sort of index, like the inflation rate, so funding goes up over time.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

Educators and some lawmakers weren’t sure which Jeff King they were going to hear from Thursday.

Would the House K-12 Budget Committee hear from the conservative former Senate vice president who pushed through block grants and tried to defund the courts? Or would they hear from a constitutional lawyer with experience litigating school finance cases in Kansas?

Turns out, it was the latter.

“I don’t think there’s anything he said that really threatens where the bill is going,” said Mark Tallman, the top lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

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