education funding

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

Educators and some lawmakers weren’t sure which Jeff King they were going to hear from Thursday.

Would the House K-12 Budget Committee hear from the conservative former Senate vice president who pushed through block grants and tried to defund the courts? Or would they hear from a constitutional lawyer with experience litigating school finance cases in Kansas?

Turns out, it was the latter.

“I don’t think there’s anything he said that really threatens where the bill is going,” said Mark Tallman, the top lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Today lawmakers working to craft a new Kansas school funding formula hear from their lawyer about whether the proposal they’ve been working on all session is constitutional.

The bill the House K-12 Budget Committee has on the table includes $750 million in new money for schools over five years. The committee’s lawyer, former state Sen. Jeff King, will weigh in on whether that’s enough to satisfy the state’s high court.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman from Olathe suggests the price tag could actually be much lower.

Kansas News Service/ File Photo

A Republican leader in the Kansas Senate says he’ll propose a fee on all utility bills in the state to help fund education.

Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning, a Republican from Overland Park, says his plan calls for a $3 monthly fee on residential electric, gas and water bills in the state. Those with all three utilities would pay $9 more a month. For commercial customers, the monthly fee would be $10 per bill.

The whole package would raise $150 million a year, Denning estimates.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran met with state education officials this weekend to talk about federal issues. Much of the discussion focused on spending cuts proposed by President Donald Trump.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

There are concerns about whether the money in the Kansas school finance bill awaiting legislative action will be enough to satisfy the state Supreme Court.

But educators were happy to see that the current proposal includes a million dollars for teacher mentoring each year. The money would help districts pay senior teachers for mentoring younger educators.

Olathe Assistant Superintendent Alison Banikowski says mentoring is a proven way to keep first-year teachers in the profession.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Wichita Public Schools is hopeful the Kansas Legislature will develop an adequate school funding formula when lawmakers reconvene next month. However, the district says it needs to prepare if that doesn’t happen.

Kansas News Service

The crowd filling the old Supreme Court room at the Kansas Statehouse expected a bit of a showdown Wednesday when the House K-12 Budget Committee discussed how much money to put into public education.

In the end, that debate lasted about 10 minutes, and the committee stood pat on adding $150 million a year for five years for a total package of $750 million.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

The chairman of the K-12 Budget Committee in the Kansas House promised that a new funding formula would be approved Monday and sent to the floor so the measure would be considered before lawmakers leave for a three-week break.

Turns out, politics got in the way.

Michael B. / flickr Creative Commons

The finishing touches on a new school funding package are expected to come out of a Kansas legislative committee on Monday.

But is an additional $750 million a year over the next half-decade enough to satisfy the state Supreme Court?

The bill that’s expected to come out of the K-12 Budget Committee would add $150 million a year in new money in each of the next five years.

But that $750 million is well short of what many educators believe would be needed to make school funding in Kansas constitutionally adequate.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

A Kansas legislative committee worked eight hours Thursday night and didn't come up with a new school funding formula.

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