K-12 budget deliberations postponed until after cost study releasedScott Rothschild
The chairman of the House K-12 Education Budget Committee on Monday postponed deliberations on the state department of education’s fiscal year 2019 budget request until after a school finance cost study is released.
Rep. Fred Patton, R-Topeka and the president of the Seaman USD 345 Board of Education, proposed to “lapse” the discussion of the KSDE FY19 budget request but approve the department’s FY18 budget cleanup request that was also presented Monday. Legislative budget committees are due to submit state budget agency recommendations to their appropriations committees in the next several days.
Patton said it would be preferable to wait on the KSDE FY19 request until the Legislature hears from Dr. Lori Taylor, who is conducting the latest legislative cost study of K-12 school finance. Taylor’s study is scheduled to be presented to lawmakers in hearings on March 16 and March 19.
Democrats on the committee initially opposed Patton’s recommendation and Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield, moved to pass out the F19 budget request as presented. Trimmer, Rep. Henry Helgerson and Rep. Jim Ward, who was sitting in for Rep. Valdenia Winn, said K-12 education represents more than 50 percent of the state budget and that delaying the FY19 request gives the appearance that K-12 is holding the rest of the state budget hostage. The real culprits in the state budget dilemma, Democrats said, are state legislators who voted for the 2012 income tax cuts proposed by then-Governor Sam Brownback. In the wake of the cuts, state agency budgets have been cut several times as state revenues declined.
The political point made, Trimmer withdrew his motion and Patton’s FY19 delay proposal passed the committee by voice vote.