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Kansas House Committee Shoots Down School Funding Plan

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio
A Kansas House committee shot down a school funding plan just hours after the Senate advanced a bill dealing with the issue.

Republicans on a Kansas House committee shot down a school funding proposal Thursday. The plan would have added and redistributed money to reduce funding disparities between school districts. The Kansas Supreme Court says lawmakers must address disparities by this summer or schools could be closed.

Several Republican lawmakers criticized the bill for going back to an old system for equalization. Rep. Marc Rhoades says that formula can’t fix funding disparities.

“No amount of money will do that. The idea that we can equalize all the schools is fatally flawed foundationally. As long as we’re having that discussion, we are chasing our tail,” says Rhoades.

The Kansas Senate did advance a bill to address the court ruling. It would simply redistribute school funding without adding any new money.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson pushed for the bill, which simply redistributes existing state funds among schools. He says he doesn't like the proposal much, but he believes it complies with the court ruling.

“I think it does show the court that the Legislature is trying to say OK and come up with a solution, because we don’t want schools closed,” says Masterson.

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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