education funding

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.

Stephen Koranda

Lawmakers in the Kansas Legislature are fast-tracking a major overhaul of the state’s school funding system. The bill would toss out the current finance formula and replace it with a series of block grants, which would last for two years as lawmakers write a new funding formula. As Stephen Koranda reports, the bill has been approved by a committee and is now headed to the full Kansas House.

Paradox 56, flickr Creative Commons

Updated Story:

A Kansas House committee has approved a plan from top Republican lawmakers to overhaul how the state distributes aid to public schools.

The House Appropriations Committee's voice vote Tuesday sends the plan to the full House for a debate that could occur later this week.

The committee voted despite bipartisan criticism that it is moving too quickly. GOP leaders unveiled the plan only last week.

Larry Darling, flickr Creative Commons

A proposal for changing how Kansas public schools are funded appears to cut money from most of the state's poorest school districts while protecting the wealthiest.

The Topeka Capital-Journal examined the effect of a Republican plan to replace the state's existing per-student formula for distributing its money to 286 school districts, which is currently designed to ensure that poor districts don't fall behind wealthy ones.

Rupert Ganzer, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas legislators are waiting for a detailed analysis of how a plan from Republican leaders to overhaul education funding would affect individual school districts.

The Kansas Department of Education was expected to release the analysis Friday. The department regularly reviews school finance legislation and analyzes its effects.

The GOP plan was outlined Thursday and would replace the state's existing per-student formula for distributing its aid to 286 school districts.

alamosbasement, flickr Creative Commons

School districts suing the state of Kansas over education funding are telling the state Supreme Court that they want a lower court to continue handling their lawsuit.

Four districts asked the Supreme Court Tuesday to reject the state's request that the high court handle the lawsuit instead of a three-judge Shawnee County District Court panel.

The districts sued the state in 2010.

The lower-court panel ruled in December that the state is not adequately funding schools.

The state asked the panel to reconsider in January.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas Lawmakers have passed the halfway point in the 2015 session without unveiling a proposal to rewrite the state’s school funding formula. Governor Sam Brownback has proposed an overhaul, but first he says lawmakers should freeze spending and issue block grants to schools. As Stephen Koranda reports, a proposal could be coming soon.

Governor Brownback and some Republicans have been unhappy with unexpected cost increases for Kansas education. A block grant proposal would give them time to write a new plan while keeping funding steady.

Robert S. Digby, flickr Creative Commons

Teachers no longer would be exempt from criminal charges for showing students materials deemed to be harmful to minors under a bill given first-round approval in the Kansas Senate.

Teachers could be charged for any materials thought to be too sexual or too profane for minors.

Republican Senator Forrest Knox of Altoona said he supported the bill.

Knox says teachers should not be protected from showing materials that would draw penalties in other contexts.

The state of Kansas has filed an appeal of the ruling that found the state isn't spending enough money on its public schools.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced the filing on Wednesday.

The Shawnee County District Court panel declared in its December ruling that the current funding is "inadequate from any rational perspective of the evidence."

The panel said the evidence suggests base state aid should increase to at least $4,654 per student - which would amount to about $548 million dollars per year.

Wichita Public Schools

Governor Sam Brownback announced on Thursday that he was cutting funding for Kansas public schools at rate of 1.5 percent. That means a reduction of $28 million in funding across the board. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports how this might affect Wichita Public Schools…

The statewide cuts will take effect on March 7.

Wichita School Board President Sheril Logan says her district must clear $3 million from their budget, and they’ll need to do it quickly.

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