education funding

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

State lawmakers need to write a new formula for funding Kansas schools and close budget gaps in the current and coming fiscal years. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’ll be attacking those issues separately.

Senate leaders are going to take a two-pronged strategy, starting with balancing the Kansas budget. Then they’ll focus on a new school funding formula. The Kansas Supreme Court says the current funding is inadequate.

If lawmakers add more money for schools, the Senate’s majority leader, Jim Denning, says that will be built into the school funding bill.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The top Democrat in the Kansas Senate says he believes lawmakers are off-track and haven’t made enough progress on big issues facing the state. Legislators have been in session almost 40 days, and Sen. Anthony Hensley says they haven’t done enough to erase a budget deficit and write a new school funding system.

“The Legislature over the years has wasted time, but I’ve never seen anything like this when we have such significant issues on the table that we have to deal with,” Hensley says.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

A top leader in the Kansas Senate says lawmakers may ask school districts to dip into their reserve funds to help solve a looming budget deficit.

Republican Majority Leader Jim Denning, from Overland Park, says he knows taxes will have to be raised to structurally balance the state budget.

The problem, he says, is the 2018 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

He calls that a "bridge year," and says he may want school districts to use 2 percent of their reserve funds to help balance the budget.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

The Kansas Supreme Court’s school finance decision Thursday doesn’t give lawmakers much time to come up with a new funding formula. As Jim McLean of the Kansas News Service reports, a tight deadline isn’t the only problem they face.

It is not hyperbole to say the challenges that members of the 2017 Kansas Legislature face are among the most daunting in the state's history.

Abigail Beckman / KMUW

The superintendent of Wichita Public Schools says it's impossible to know the immediate impact of Thursday's Kansas Supreme Court ruling that the state is not adequately funding its public schools. Still, the district says the ruling is a good thing for students here and across the state.

Charles Riedel / AP

Updated at 12:46 p.m.

As expected, the Kansas Supreme Court this morning ruled that Kansas’ school funding formula is inadequate under the Kansas Constitution.

In an 83-page decision, the court gave the Legislature until June 30 to address the state’s public education financing system.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

There’s been an awful lot of discussion on what Kansas’s new school funding formula will look like and whether the Legislature will still make cuts to public schools mid-year.

Nothing has been decided, which has educators in the state both a little optimistic and a little scared.

USD 259 Budget Planning The 'Perfect Storm Of Unknowns'

Feb 14, 2017
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 / KPR/File photo

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.

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