$80 million error found in new school finance bill

An error in the school finance bill that passed the Legislature over the weekend would provide school districts $80 million less than intended, according to new information released by the Kansas State Department of Education.  

Now the question is, what to do about it. Please follow KASB on Twitter and Facebook for any updates on this issue.  

Gov. Jeff Colyer still intends to sign the bill into law and then “will work with the Legislature to correct the error when they return,” Colyer spokesman Kendall Marr told the Wichita Eagle. The Legislature returns for the wrap-up session on April 26. 

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, who opposed the bill, told the Eagle, “We will have our attorneys look at the problem in the morning and see what the best remedy would be.”  

State Rep. Fred Patton, R-Topeka, and chairman of the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, was quoted in the Topeka Capital-Journal that the mistake has to do with the new way local option budgets are calculated as a portion of state funding.  

Patton who carried the bill in the House, told the newspaper, “I would hope that everyone would work together to make sure we implement the intent of the Legislature when the bill was passed. I would give other legislators that courtesy and anticipate they would do the same.” He said the bill can be fixed with “technical” corrections when the Legislature returns the wrap up session. 

The error in Substitute for Senate Bill 423 affects general state aid. KSDE has posted two computer printouts, which can be found on the KSDE School Finance website under “What’s New” or via this link. 

SF18-088 reflects what the Legislature intended and SF18-090 reflects what the Legislature approved.  A technical change will be discussed when the Legislature returns on April 26. These printouts show both policies in the bills and state expenditures, as well as impact on individual districts. 

Problems in drafting major, complex bills are not uncommon and often corrected in “trailer” or follow-bills. However, SB 423 passed by the narrowest of margins, receiving the bare minimum votes in both the House and Senate. 

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