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Time Is Running Short For Kansas Lawmakers To Fix School Funding

Matt Hodapp
KCUR 89.3
Pictured from left to right: Jonathan Shorman, Jay Senter, Rep. Ron Ryckman, and Sam Zeff.

Attempts by Kansas lawmakers to find a finance solution that would equitably fund schools have thus far failed in the Legislature.

Kansas Rep. Ron Ryckman Jr., a Republican from Olathe, joined KCUR's Statehouse Blend podcast this weekend to discuss the Legislature's burden in coming up with a new school funding plan.

Rykman's plan, which got shot down in the House Appropriations Committee, would have pumped an extra $39 million into the system. But many of his fellow Republicans didn't support the plan because most of the money would go to property tax relief due to the state-imposed cap on how much local tax money districts can spend. 

"The solution last week was one that I felt certain that the courts would allow our schools to be opened if that was passed. That doesn't, at this point, seem to be the solution that is best for our kids and our schools, and our taxpayers," says Ryckman.

The only plan currently on the table is from the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It would move money from wealthy districts to poorer districts. 

There's one week left in the regular session and Ryckman says educators from around the state will be at the Statehouse to try and work out a plan that satisfies the state Supreme Court. 

"It could be almost an all-day process. We're asking folks to come in to give us their opinions," says Ryckman.

The high court has said if lawmakers can't come up with a solution to the equity problem by June 30, the court will shut down public education. 

Guests on this episode:

Matt Hodapp produces Statehouse Blend at KCUR. Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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