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KASB Plans Support Of School Finance Fix To Be Heard Wednesday

The Kansas Association of School Boards plans to testify in support of Governor Laura Kelly’s plan to adjust for inflation in the school finance formula when the bill is heard Wednesday afternoon in a Kansas Senate committee.

“The Governor is recommending it and the plaintiffs have at least tentatively agreed to that,” said KASB Vice President for Advocacy Mark Tallman. “We think there’s a real chance that if this last step was adopted, it would finally resolve the Gannon case. It would provide stable school funding for the next several years. That’s important.”

This doesn’t mean it solves all K-12 funding issues.

“With this additional money, it’s really just designed to get school funding back to the level it was in 2009, when you adjust for inflation,” said Tallman.

The court didn’t ask for more than that.

“What the court did in their most recent decision is accept what the State proposed,” said Tallman. “The State basically said, okay, our idea is, everyone basically agrees that funding was constitutional in 2009. It was based on a cost study the Legislature did. It was kind of what resolved a lawsuit at that time. The problem is, we’ve simply fallen away from that.”

Though the Senate is hearing the bill Wednesday, the House has not set a date for the hearing on its companion bill and it is likely that amendments would be offered, so a timeline for when action may go forward is unclear at this point.

Given that the bill adjusts the school finance formula, it opens the door to any education related change that either body would find germane regarding those appropriations, so lots of things could be added to or subtracted from the legislation before it gets to the floor of either chamber. The KASB’s support is of the bill as written prior to Wednesday’s hearing.

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