Financing Schools

Kansas Supreme Court: Arguments made; decision awaits

The state and plaintiff school districts Thursday argued before the Kansas Supreme Court over whether the state’s recent $90 million increase for K-12 funding was enough to settle the long running Gannon lawsuit. Toby Crouse, an attorney representing the state, said the increase complied with the inflation adjustment ordered last year by the court. Coupled with an earlier approved $522 million phase-in of increased funding, Crouse said the state was in substantial compliance with court decisions in the decade-long litigation and the case should be dismissed. Alan Rupe, the attorney representing school districts that sued the state, said the $90 million...

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Kansas school finance system back in court

KASB will provide gavel-to-gavel coverage of oral arguments Thursday in the Gannon school finance case before the Kansas Supreme Court. Follow KASB on Twitter for developments during the arguments, which start at 9 a.m., and then Facebook for interviews after the event and later at 12:30 p.m. during KASB Live for analysis of the court proceedings from KASB’s Donna Whiteman, attorney and assistant executive director legal services, and Mark Tallman, associate executive director advocacy and communications. The dispute before the court centers on SB 16 — the legislative fix to add an inflation adjustment to school funding. The state argues SB 16...

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Education bills approved this session

While school finance dominated much of the first part of the 2019 legislative session, legislators turned their attention to other education issues as well.   Here is a list of bills approved and signed into law that will affect schools:   SB 9 - Authorizing the transfer of $115 million from the state general fund to the Kansas public employee's retirement fund during fiscal year 2019.     SB 16 - Amendments to the Kansas school equity and enhancement act and other statutes related to education (Gannon lawsuit response).     Increases BASE for school years 2019-23;     Changes schedule of school finance audits;     Requires KSDE to prepare state accountability reports and school district funding reports;    State...

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Legislature ends session with budget, including school funds, and tax cuts

Kansas legislators Sunday ended the 2019 session after approving a budget that includes school funding and a tax bill that would reduce revenue by approximately $240 million over three years. The next battle over K-12 finance will be Thursday when attorneys for the state and plaintiff districts square off before the Kansas Supreme Court over whether SB 16 satisfies the court’s order to provide an inflation adjustment to school funding. Approved earlier in the session, SB 16 adds $90 million more to the general state education aid of approximately $4 billion, which was contained in the final appropriations bill approved over...

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KASB Daily Education Roundup, Thur. May 2

Key legislators put the finishing touches on a final state budget and another tax cut bill started moving through the Legislature on Thursday, the second day of the wrap up session. Major items in the budget for education include rolling over about $2 million in unexpended funds to expand the school mental health initiative and providing another $5 million for school security. Under the proposal, the increased funding for mental health services would require 25 percent matching funds from schools. The budget is in conference committee report for SB 25. Meanwhile, Republican leaders put together a new tax cutting plan that...

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KASB Live at 12:30 p.m. today to review wrap up session; trends in school salaries

KASB Live will start at 12:30 p.m. today to review the developing budget agreement and tax cut bill as the Legislature works toward ending the wrap up session. Here is a link to join the discussion. Following the legislative update, KASB Live will feature a special report covering national and state trends in school salaries. The budget agreement that will be considered by legislators during the wrap up session contains several items important to education leaders, including more funding for mental health and school security. On the issue of school salaries, KASB recently issued two reports -- one showing the growing gap...

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KASB Daily Education Roundup, Wed. May 1

With major legislative votes Wednesday on Medicaid expansion and abortion, not much happened on the education front during the first day of the wrap-up session. A move is being made by some legislators to add in the final budget approximately $2 million in unexpended revenues to the state’s mental health initiative in public schools. Both the House and Senate budget committees are working on spending plans. Here is a link to KASB’s Facebook Live summary of the day’s developments.

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KASB Daily Education Roundup, Tue. April 30

Budget writers received state financial updates, Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget amendments and had numerous conversations on spending proposals on Tuesday — one day before the start of the wrap-up of the 2019 legislative session. While the new school finance plan has already been approved and is before the Kansas Supreme Court for review, numerous smaller education programs remain before legislators. In the House Appropriations Committee, on a motion from state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichtia, and seconded by House K-12 Education Budget Chair Kristey Williams, R-Augusta, the appropriators removed a proposal to add $130,000 ($86,726 from the State General Fund) for three...

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House, Senate budget committees meet in advance of wrap up session

House and Senate budget committees met Tuesday — a day ahead of Wednesday’s opening of the wrap-up session. House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means were scheduled to hear a review of the new revenue and caseload estimates and the governor’s budget amendments. Here is a link to the agenda and here is a link to hear audio of the meeting. In the afternoon, the committees were to meet separately to go over the budget. Earlier this month, state fiscal experts revised revenue estimates for the current and next two fiscal years. The changes amounted to about $15 million more over the...

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Gannon plaintiffs point to HB 2395 as a reason for court to maintain jurisdiction in school finance lawsuit

Plaintiff districts in the Gannon school finance lawsuit say another reason the Kansas Supreme Court should maintain jurisdiction in the case is HB 2395; the conservative Republican plan that would have reneged on previously-approved funding increases. Approved last month by the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, HB 2395 would have eliminated both the last two years of a four-year school funding plan approved in 2018 as well as inflation adjustments in future years. Even though HB 2395 was not brought up for a vote before the full House, the House-Senate conference committee that produced SB 16 -- the new school finance...

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