education funding

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.

Stephen Koranda

Republican lawmakers in Kansas have earmarked $50,000 for the Legislature to hire its own attorneys on school finance issues, leading Democrats to speculate Wednesday that GOP leaders plan to defy a recent state Supreme Court order on education funding.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

An efficiency study says the state of Kansas could save money by requiring school districts to spend down their cash reserves. That’s an idea some conservatives have been pushing in past years as a way to save money.

Christopher Sessums, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers will be working to determine how to respond to a court ruling over school funding.

The Kansas Supreme Court says lawmakers haven’t done enough to reduce funding disparities between school districts. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the justices say lawmakers have to fix it by the end of June.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas House and Senate both approved budget plans this week, but neither one takes into account a court ruling on school funding. The Kansas Supreme Court said this week that Kansas hasn’t done enough to reduce funding disparities between districts.

Democratic Rep. John Carmichael argued the House shouldn’t have approved a budget that doesn’t deal with the financial implications of the ruling.

Abigail Wilson

    

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state's new block grant funding law does not meet the requirement for funding schools equitably.

In the nearly unanimous ruling, Kansas Supreme Court justices say that the state Legislature should get another opportunity to create a constitutional funding system. If there is no acceptable remedy in place by June 30, "the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate."

Sam Zeff / KCUR

There seems to be a growing tenseness over the future of education in Kansas. The fight last year over block grant funding was hardball and, at times, ugly. Teachers felt under the gun, and many decided to leave the state.

But as KCUR’s Sam Zeff reports, educators say the attacks this legislative session feel particularly bitter.

It’s Wednesday, 30 minutes before the House Education Committee will meet and room 112-North in the Kansas Statehouse is packed.

It’s hot, there’s not enough seats, and the Capitol police, who rarely leave entrance, are in the room.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A bill before a Kansas House committee would allow the state to deny financial assistance for some school district building projects.

Under the current system, school districts issue bonds for improvement projects and the state helps pick up the tab. The proposal would create a state board that would determine if school district building projects are directly related to instruction. If they aren’t, the board can cut back or eliminate state support.

aptmetaphor / Flickr

A special committee of Kansas lawmakers has approved a series of recommendations for revamping education. They range from tossing out the current tests for students to giving the state oversight of bonds issued by school districts. Republican Representative Ron Highland is chair of the committee.

“I think we boiled it down with some very salient recommends and if I were betting I’d say that several of those will be looked at closely,” says Highland.

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