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Kansas Senate Advances Education Funding Bill

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.

Sen. Ty Masterson, an Andover Republican, said they are prioritizing spending.

"That's what this job is, that's what we do is prioritize our spending. And obviously this have become a significant enough spending priority that we're shifting resources from other areas," said Masterson.

The bill also includes other education policy issues like teacher licensing rules.

Sen. Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, made a motion to simply add more than $100 million in education funding to comply with the court ruling rather than moving money around.

"It addresses what the court told us to do, and all the rest of this stuff that we have in this bill isn't necessary," said Hensley.

Hensley's motion failed.

The bill would also give local voters the choice to add money for schools by raising property taxes. The debate lasted into the early morning hours.

Legislative leaders say they hope to finish work on the issue before lawmakers leave for a month-long break.

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