K-12 aid is not taking a larger share of the Kansas state budget

K-12 aid is not taking a larger share of the Kansas state budget

Despite concerns that K-12 funding is taking a larger share
of the state budget and squeezing out support for other programs, analysis of
state spending shows that school funding’s share of the Kansas budget has
changed very little since 1994.
According to data from the Kansas Legislative Research
Department’s Fiscal Facts publication, state aid to school districts in 1994,
when the state assumed a much larger role in school funding to reduce property
taxes, was 48.2 percent of the state general fund. Under the approved budget
for 2019, school district state aid will be 49.7 percent. The average over the
past 25 years has been 49.9 percent.
In other words, school district aid from the general fund
has increased at almost exactly the same rate as overall state general funding
spending, including increased funding as a result of school finance lawsuits.
Note that state aid funding increased from about 40 to 50
percent of the state general fund from 1992 to 1994 when the Legislature raised
sales and income taxes to reduce local school property taxes in most districts.
The percentage of state aid for K-12 also increased following reductions in the
statewide mill levy from 35 to 20 and removing the state school levy from motor
vehicle taxes in the late 1990’s, and following the Montoy school finance decision in 2005.
The share of budget going to K-12 had been declining since
2011 until the current year when funding was increased to address the Gannon
decision. However, the share of state general funding going to K-12 is expected
to decline next year under the two-year budget approved by the 2017
Legislature.
Note: this data includes only appropriations for school
district state aid from the state general fund. It does not include capital
improvement (bond and interest) aid or the 20-mill statewide levy.