Senate sends school finance `fix’ bill to Colyer

The Kansas Senate on Monday approved the school finance “fix” bill, sending it to Gov. Jeff Colyer who said he would sign it into law as soon as possible. Here is a link to the Kansas State Department of Education’s explanation and district-by-district amounts from the bill.

The Senate voted 31-8 for House Sub for SB 61. On Saturday, the House approved it 92-27.

On Monday, several senators complained about certain provisions of the bill but added that they would vote for it to get the issue before the Kansas Supreme Court.

The bill was needed to correct SB 423, which the Legislature approved earlier this month as a response to the state Supreme Court ruling that the school finance system was inadequate and inequitable.

SB 423, signed into law by Colyer, increases K-12 funding by $525 million over five years. But shortly after it was approved, an error in the bill held back $80 million in funding to school districts.

The new bill fixed that problem but also made a change to a controversial provision in SB 423 that required school districts to include a portion of their Local Option Budgets in base state aid, thus making base state aid appear higher. Opponents of that provision said the court would likely reject such a move. While removing that provision, the new bill inserted a policy statement suggesting that the LOB funds be included in base state aid.

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