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Kansas Senate Passes Bill Scrapping School Funding System

A bill that scraps the school funding system in Kansas has passed the Legislature and is heading to the governor’s desk for consideration. The Senate voted 25-14 to concur with a bill that had previously passed the Kansas House. It would temporarily create a block grant system while lawmakers write a new funding formula.

Supporters of the bill say it has $300 million in new funding and gives Kansas schools more flexibility. Republican Senate President Susan Wagle says the bill lets them start over and ditches a school funding formula she calls “broken.”

“That is why we’re going to break down these walls and we're going to write a new formula, and student achievement will be first. And that’s what’s best for the students of Kansas,” says Wagle.

Critics of the bill point out that much of the new money is for pensions, not dollars schools can spend.

Democratic Sen. Marci Francisco says the plan cuts funding for some districts. She says lawmakers don’t need to scrap the current system to write a new formula.

“I do not believe that passing this bill gives us any better chance to do that and in fact just makes many things more confusing,” says Francisco.

The bill moved quickly. It was first introduced less than two weeks ago.

Gov. Brownback proposed going to a block-grant system earlier this year, so it’s likely he will sign the legislation.

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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