The Kansas House narrowly passed an education policy bill 63-61 on Tuesday before taking up the funding piece. Senate Select Committee on Education Finance Chair Republican Molly Baumgardner is focused on the funding side at this point.
“Policy is obviously something that is conferenceable,” said Baumgardner. “What we’re really focusing on is making sure that we have funding that is in accord with what the courts are demanding. That’s what’s most pressing, is the funding component. That is what the courts want to know.”
At this point, Baumgardner sees the policy book as closed.
“The Senate addressed policy issues last year,” said Baumgardner. “The House, as a body, said, we don’t care about policy issues. We care about money. Now, they’ve reversed course. The Court has already acknowledged the policy work that was put into place in prior years. They were very clear in their ruling. You need to address that inflationary factor and you need to pay it out over four years.”
The House could take up the funding piece as soon as late Tuesday.
“The House plan would distribute the money differently,” said KASB Vice President for Advocacy Mark Tallman on Monday. “Instead of all going into BASE state aid, about half of it would be set aside for a new weighting on mental health and increased at-risk weighting.”
The other main difference is the House’s position coming out of committee is only for the two current budget years and would not fund beyond that. The Senate’s passed bill is a four-year phase in.