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Kansas House Gives Initial Approval To School Funding Bill

The Kansas House has voted to scrap the current school funding system in Kansas and replace it with block grants for two years. That would give legislators time to craft a new formula.

There was a contentious debate Thursday and the bill won initial approval on a 64-58 vote.

Republican Rep. Ron Ryckman admits change isn’t easy, but he says the plan will give Kansas school districts more local control over how they spend their dollars.

“I believe that our local districts know how to educate our kids better than we do. I believe our local districts with more flexibility, less red tape, can get more money in the classroom,” says Ryckman.

Opponents say some districts will lose money under the bill and lawmakers have only had a week to study the plan. Republican Rep. Don Hineman says they’re going too far by throwing away the current school formula.

“Crumple it up and throw it in the trash can and trade it for a blank piece of paper that someone's going to fill in later. That is a big step. That’s a huge step,” says Hineman.

The House will take a final vote on the bill Friday.

As the Kansas News Service managing editor, I help our statewide team of reporters find the important issues and breaking news that impact people statewide. We refine our daily stories to illustrate the issues and events that affect the health, well-being and economic stability of the people of Kansas. Email me at skoranda@kcur.org.
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