education funding

Dan Skinner / Kansas Public Radio

An attorney hired by Kansas lawmakers questioned school officials and legislative staff on Monday to gather evidence for an ongoing school funding lawsuit.

Attorney Toby Crouse is compiling the information. The Kansas Supreme Court is considering if lawmakers are funding school districts equally and spending an adequate amount on education.

Lawmakers are considering a plan that would redistribute school aid to reduce disparities between districts.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A Kansas House committee roundly rejected a bill last week responding to a state Supreme Court ruling on school funding. But the panel isn't giving up. As KPR's Stephen Koranda reports, they'll be back at work on the topic this week.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas Senate Committee Advances School Funding Proposal

A Kansas Senate committee has advanced a plan to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling on school funding. The court says disparities between districts must be reduced by this summer or justices could close Kansas schools.

The Senate plan doesn’t add any new money for Kansas schools, it simply shuffles funding around. That means some districts get more money and some lose out. Republican Senator Ty Masterson says he doesn’t like the plan much, but he believes it complies with the court ruling.

Larry Darling, flickr Creative Commons

A Republican state senator is suggesting that Kansas move to consolidate public school districts as it works to make education funding fairer.

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth raised the issue Wednesday during a committee hearing on a bill to redistribute $39 million during the 2016-17 school year to help poor districts.

The bill is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last month that the state has been unfairly shorting poor school districts on their aid.

Stephen Koranda

Two Republican lawmakers are suggesting that the Kansas Legislature turn the job of determining how state aid to public schools is distributed over to the State Board of Education.

Reps. Gene Suellentrop of Wichita and Marvin Kleeb of Overland Park raised the idea during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on a school funding plan from the panel's chairman.

The 10-member board would then face the burden of making sure the money is distributed fairly.

Stephen Koranda

Hundreds of education advocates rallied at the Kansas Statehouse Monday and urged lawmakers to boost spending on public schools.

Judith Deedy, with the group Game On for Kansas Schools, argues that many lawmakers aren’t hearing the concerns of parents. Deedy is asking lawmakers to stop legislation that she says targets teachers.

“Our requests are really quite simple. Listen to us. Base funding for schools upon need. Let the teachers do their job,” Deedy told the advocates gathered Monday.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers will start work this week on a response to a school funding ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court. The decision says there are disparities between school districts and if they aren't fixed by this summer the court could close Kansas schools.

There are plans in both the House and Senate to comply with the ruling, but as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the proposals could cost some districts money.

J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas Senate committee has advanced a bill that would expand the grounds for impeaching a state Supreme Court justice.

The bill says justices could be impeached for trying to exercise powers given to the governor or Legislature. Republican Sen. Forrest Knox says checks and balances in government are important.

"We have arrived at a point today in this country, in this state, where specifically Supreme Court justices have become kings, where there is no check," Knox says.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas lawmakers are continuing work on a bill that would allow the state to deny financial assistance for some school district building projects. The legislation says a state panel should review school district construction projects and only award state aid for buildings directly related to student instruction.

The latest proposal would deny Kansas tax dollars for athletic facilities. Republican Rep. Ron Highland offered the plan. He says if a school district wants an Olympic swimming pool, local taxpayers should pay for it.

Christopher Sessums, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers have approved a budget bill that balances on paper. But as Jim McLean reports from the Statehouse, it doesn’t yet include the money the Kansas Supreme Court says needs to be added for public schools.

The budget bill on its way to Gov. Sam Brownback uses a variety of transfers and accounting maneuvers to cover anticipated spending for the rest of the current budget year and the next one, which starts on July 1.