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K-12 budget resolution would give some direction to overall picture, says KASB advocate

The K-12 education budget for the state of Kansas has been split out from the rest of the state’s general fund expenditures in the interests of fully resolving the Gannon school finance litigation this year.

“The Court wants to have a ruling by no later than June 30th,” said Mark Tallman, Vice President for Advocacy with the Kansas Association of School Boards. “To let them get the state briefed, have oral arguments, to deliberate, and frankly, I think, to let schools operate, know what their budgets are, the oral arguments are scheduled for May. The Governor has asked that the legislature resolve this by the end of February.”

This is in order to give Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office time to prepare its briefs and legal arguments.

“The idea is, the sooner the better from the viewpoint of the court, from the viewpoint of schools,” said Tallman. “Frankly, since schools are the biggest piece of the budget, if that’s resolved, then all these other choices will be a little easier to know what you’re working with.”

Even though Governor Kelly wants most of the rest of the budget to go to a one-year cycle, she acknowledged Friday that schools are on a different schedule and need more time and more certainty so that they can hire personnel when they are available.

“The Governor, I think, is now saying, the budget picture is still, kind of so unclear, for all these things I was talking about, that we shouldn’t be making big changes in the tax code right now,” Tallman said.

Republicans want to decouple the tax code to allow more state deductions than current law does for those that use the standard deduction at the federal level. There has also been support in previous sessions for a reduction in the food sales tax, which would also reduce estimated revenues significantly.

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