Kansas legislators consider school finance plan, tax bill

Posted at 6:55 AM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 07:06:14-04

A Kansas House of Representatives committee was reviewing a bill Monday that would phase in a $783 million increase in spending on schools. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in March that education funding is inadequate.

After considering several amendments, the K-12 committee eventually settled on a $278 million increase over the next 2 years.  Fairway republican Melissa Rooker successfully moved to pass the bill out of committee to the house floor without the committee making a recommendation to colleagues on how to vote.

House lawmakers could debate the bill as early as Tuesday.  When they do, it is expected to be contentious, with some stakeholders questioning whether the bill has enough funding to pass constitutional muster with the state’s Supreme Court.

“What the state board of education asked for over 2 years was over $800 million, so doing less than half of that over 2 years probably is not enough,” said David Smith with Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, a plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s Gannon vs. Kansas case.

If representatives in the House approve the bill, it would move to the Senate for consideration. It would need to pass both chambers and be signed into law by Governor Brownback before the Supreme Court makes a decision on HB2410’s school funding adequacy.