education funding

While on his trip in Western Kansas Wednesday, Governor Brownback was met by teachers protesting a new state law eliminating tenure.

Brownback traveled Wednesday to the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays to re-enact his previous signing of a bill naming two official state fossils.

Outside the museum, about 25 teachers and retired teachers protested the anti-tenure law.

The tenure repeal was part of a school funding bill Brownback signed Monday to meet a Kansas Supreme Court mandate to boost aid to poor districts. It will take effect in July.

Updated at 12:40 on April 21, 2014: Gov. Brownback announced in a press release on Monday that he has decided to sign HB 2506. The bill addresses school funding equity issues pointed out in a Kansas Supreme Court decision.

A deadline is approaching for Governor Sam Brownback to make a decision on whether to sign a bill on spending for Kansas’ public schools.

The state Legislature narrowly backed a bill last night that would boost funding to poor school districts and eliminate tenure for teachers.

Teachers wearing red shirts looked on in protest as 63 House members - the minimum needed - voted in favor of the bill, while 57 voted against it.

Hours earlier, the Senate approved it with a 22-16 vote. It needed 21 votes to pass.

The bill now heads to Governor Sam Brownback, who has already released a statement praising it.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate has advanced a plan to respond to a state Supreme Court ruling on education funding.

The court said lawmakers created inequalities between school districts by cutting certain types of education funds.

The bill would shift money into funds aimed at reducing those disparities.

Dollars would be moved from school transportation as well as other areas of the budget. Senator Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said they are prioritizing spending.

The House Appropriations Committee has revised its school funding plan to be more generous in providing aid to local school districts.

The State Supreme Court ruled in March that lawmakers created inequalities between school districts by cutting education funds.

The bill is designed to satisfy the ruling’s call to increase funding.

It contains an additional $141 million dollars in aid for those districts for the next school year.

Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate will debate an education funding bill on Thursday, while a similar bill has hit a snag in the House.

The bills are a response to a state Supreme Court ruling saying Kansas created inequalities between wealthy and poorer school districts when lawmakers cut education funding.

Leaders in both chambers had been planning to hold debates on Thursday.

Both bills use a mix of new money and dollars shifted from other areas to try to comply with the court ruling and reduce disparities between districts.

Stephen Koranda

Four parents and a teacher have walked from Johnson County to the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka to show their support for Kansas public schools.

The Kansans who made the 60-mile trek say they want lawmakers to reverse more of the funding cuts made during the recession.

Devin Wilson of Lenexa says he's a lifelong Kansan and a lifelong Republican.

Wilson wants lawmakers to increase funding to help reverse the trend of increased class sizes.

Stephen Koranda

Updated Monday, Mar. 31, 2:30 pm: House Speaker Ray Merrick names replacement for Rhodes. 

The House Appropriations Committee's chairman has resigned from the committee because he says he can't support a school funding plan drafted by the chamber's Republican leaders.

Newton Republican Marc Rhoades resigned Monday, just before the start of his committee's hearings on the plan.

The Kansas House Appropriations Committee will start hearings Monday on a budget bill to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling over education funding.

However, the bill will cover more than just school spending.

The budget bill before the committee includes other policy items like rewriting teacher licensure rules. Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, told committee members last week about the broad scope of the discussion.

Kansas lawmakers have delayed committee work on education funding bills.

The legislation is being taken up in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that determined there are unconstitutional funding disparities between school districts.

House and Senate committees had been expected to work on the bills on Monday.

Republican Senator Ty Masterson, from Andover, says his committee is not yet in a position to begin work.