School Funding

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.

Wichita Public Schools

The Wichita Public Schools board is considering making more changes to the district’s calendar.

Last year, the board lengthened the school day by 30 minutes and shortened the school year by 15 days as a way to cut millions of dollars from its budget.

Kansas Health Institute/File photo

Kansas lawmakers have wrapped up the first part of the legislative session and will return to the Statehouse in May.

Legislators did manage to send a bill balancing the budget for the fiscal year that ends in June to the governor, but they haven’t finalized tax and budget plans for 2018 and 2019.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle said she isn’t frustrated by the slow progress.

“It’s expected. Coming to a compromise, an agreement on a tax package is probably the most difficult thing any state legislature would have to do," she said.

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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