Legislature approves school finance plan; bill goes to governor next, then Kansas Supreme Court

With no votes to spare and little time to spare, the Kansas Legislature approved an approximately $522 million increase in school funding spread over five years.

KASB Live will broadcast at 12:30 p.m. Monday to go over details of the bill. To join the broadcast and discussion, go to this link.

Gov. Jeff Colyer indicated he would sign the legislation into law, putting the proposal on track to be presented to the Kansas Supreme Court, which ruled in October that the current school finance system is inadequate and inequitable. The court set an April 30 deadline for the state to file legal briefs on its proposed fix.

The Senate was debating SB 423 right at midnight Saturday, which was when the 2018 regular session was set to expire. But with just seconds to spare, the House adopted a Senate-approved adjournment resolution that essentially extended the session one more day.

Early Sunday morning, the Senate approved the bill 21-19, prompting cheers from dozens of teachers who came to the Statehouse from a KNEA conference in Topeka. On Saturday afternoon, the House approved the measure with the minimum required affirmative votes, 63-56.

Supporters of the bill said it would pass court muster while opponents said the court would reject it, forcing the Legislature into a special session. Opponents also said the funding level would require a tax increase but supporters said higher than anticipated revenue growth would cover the price tag.

The final amount of $522 million represented a level approved by the House earlier while the original Senate-approved bill had much less funding — $275 million over five years.

KASB had issued action alerts, urging members to contact their representatives to ask them to support the House funding level.

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