education funding

Stephen Koranda

A three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court has declared a new block grant school funding system unconstitutional. The panel says the law fails to provide an adequate funding system for Kansas schools.

The top Democrat in the Kansas House, Tom Burroughs, says the state should move back to the old school funding system that was replaced with the block grant plan.

“The old formula has been through the system, has been found to be constitutional and it just needed to be funded adequately and equally,” says Burroughs.

Larry Darling, flickr Creative Commons

Governor Brownback and legislative leaders have agreed to give five school districts roughly half a million dollars in additional funding.

The State Finance Council is comprised of the governor and leaders from each chamber. It voted Monday to give more money to districts that were hit hard by recent policy changes and had unforeseen expenses.

Eight districts requested about $1.1 million dollars from the $4 million extraordinary needs fund. The panel voted to partially fund five of those requests.

A restaurant waitress says she left a message for Governor Sam Brownback on his "start a conversation about education."

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Chloe Hough was working her last shift as an employee Saturday night at Boss Hawg's in Topeka when she waited on the governor.

Hough later posted his receipt on Facebook, showing the line for the tip crossed out and the phrase "Tip the schools" written beside it.

alamosbasement, flickr Creative Commons

This week, a Kansas district court will hear more arguments in a school funding lawsuit. As Stephen Koranda reports, this is just the latest step in the complex legal battle.

A three-judge panel in Shawnee County will hear arguments on whether they should overturn a new school funding system that replaces the old formula with block grants.

They’ll also consider if the state has violated a previous order by cutting some money used to equalize funding between school districts.

The school funding lawsuit in Kansas continues to get more complicated.

Stephen Koranda

Education advocates wrapped up a 60-mile walk on Monday at the Kansas Statehouse.

Eleven people completed the trek from the Kansas City are to Topeka to focus attention on public school funding.

Lauren Van Wagoner from Hoyt says she made the trip because she has a six-year-old daughter with autism.

“Since my daughter’s in special education, I often see how thin those resources are for those kids, and I’m concerned those resources are going to continue to get thinner,” says Van Wagoner.

Representative Virgil Peck of Montgomery County used a state plane to fly from Coffeyville to Topeka and back to vote on the school finance bill.

Peck was the only passenger on the plane from Coffeyville to Topeka on March 13th. He flew to Topeka so he could vote on implementing block grant funding for the state's schools.

Peck went home March 12 to attend events in Coffeyville and Independence with Governor Sam Brownback.

alamosbasement, flickr Creative Commons

Republican Governor Sam Brownback has signed a $4.1 billion plan to overhaul Kansas' school funding system.

The governor signed the bill into law Wednesday during a private ceremony in the presence of GOP leaders.

It scraps the current formula for determining state aid and replaces it with "block grants" to school districts based on their current aid. The grant system will be in place for two years while the Legislature develops a new formula.

Stephen Koranda

A bill that scraps the school funding system in Kansas has passed out of the Legislature and is heading to the governor’s desk for consideration.

The Senate voted 25-14 to concur with a bill that had previously passed the Kansas House. As Stephen Koranda reports, it would temporarily create a block grant system while lawmakers write a new funding formula.

Supporters of the bill say it has $300 million in new funding and gives Kansas schools more flexibility.

Stephen Koranda

Last week, House lawmakers narrowly passed a controversial bill that would scrap the current school funding system in Kansas and replace it with block grants. Some opponents of that plan had been hoping for a do-over on the vote, but as Stephen Koranda reports, the chamber’s rules shut down that possibility.

Some critics of the bill had hinted they would try to reconsider the funding formula vote on Monday. That would give them a second crack at the issue. But it became clear the chamber’s rules would block the move, so the idea was abandoned.

Stephen Koranda

A bill that would replace the school funding formula in Kansas with block grants has been speeding through the legislative process. It could stay on the fast track this week and could be on the governor’s desk in mere days.

The bill passed the House on a tight vote just over a week after it was introduced. Republican Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce says the Senate could move to simply agree to the House bill as soon as Monday. That would skip sending the bill through the normal committee process in the Senate, but Bruce says a motion to concur isn’t out of the ordinary.