KASB Daily Education Report, Thur. April 4

Kansas legislators on Thursday sent to Gov. Laura Kelly a bi-partisan school funding plan that supporters said they believe will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court direction to add an inflation adjustment to earlier funding increases. 

Kelly indicated she would sign SB 16 into law and send it to the court for inspection, tweeting that the Legislature “took an important step today towards addressing the needs of our students, supporting our teachers and fully funding our schools. I’m proud this reasonable commonsense plan was embraced with bipartisan support today. Kansans want us to work together to move Kansas forward. 

“By investing in our local schools, we can ensure that all Kansas children – no matter who they are or where they live – have the opportunity to succeed.” 

The measure passed easily in the Senate, 31-8, just hours after the House approved it 76-47, overruling House GOP leaders. 

Opponents said the price tag — an additional $90 million for the next four years plus an inflation adjustment after that — would break the budget. They also complained there was not enough accountability attached to funding.  

Supporters said the funding was sustainable and would end years of costly litigation that has taken up much of the Legislature’s time over the past few years. 

KASB and most education organizations supported the plan, saying it would provide the funding needed to continue improving student outcomes. School districts across the state emailed legislators letting them know what they intended to do with the increased funding to help students succeed.  

For a more in-depth discussion of the bill, watch KASB Live at 12:30 p.m. Friday. Here is the link to the broadcast. And here is the link for a summary of the conference committee report for SB 16. 

Last June, the court ordered the inflation adjustment but gave the Legislature time to provide a remedy. Legal briefs in the Gannon lawsuit are due April 15 and the Legislature wraps up the regular session Friday before coming back for the wrap-up session May 1. 

In both chambers, a coalition of Republicans and Democrats pushed the plan over the finish line while opposition came only from Republicans. 

Also sent to Kelly was the conference committee report for SB 130, which included SB 7. SB 7 would give school boards flexibility on when they could elect their officers.  

A wrapup of the day’s events can be seen here 

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