KASB’s Daily Education Roundup for Thur. Jan. 17

Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday made it clear early in her first State of the State address — “My No. 1 priority will always be public schools.” Kelly’s budget details on K-12 funding were to be released this morning. KASB Live will review those recommendations and other education issues at 11:30 a.m. today. Here is a link to the broadcast.

Kelly, a Democrat facing a Republican-dominated Legislature, focused much of her speech on public education, urging the Legislature to quickly resolve the Gannon school finance case.

“The days of doing the bare minimum to fund our schools are over. It stops now,” she said.

“Let’s get this done. If we act decisively, we can all share in a bipartisan victory,” Kelly said.

Kelly said she will separate her K-12 funding proposal from the rest of the budget so legislators can focus on the issue. Kelly’s budget details will be released on Thursday morning.

She said schools will be properly funded “every year, every month, every day that I’m governor.”

Kelly also called for expansion of Medicaid to draw federal funds to help cover more than 100,000 low-income Kansans and an overhaul of the foster care system, which she said is at a crisis point.

Kelly said she would balance the budget without a tax increase, but signaled opposition to Republican proposals to decouple cut taxes, saying the state has many needs and no margin for error.

“We must be cautious, conservative and fiscally responsible,” she said.

In the Republican response, Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita said Kelly’s proposals would require a tax increase. She said Republicans want to pass a bill that would allow Kansans to take itemized deductions on state taxes while also taking the higher standard deduction on federal tax returns.

In other business Wednesday, SB 9, introduced by Sen. Molly Baumgardner, who chairs both Senate Education and Senate Select Education Funding Committees, would add more funding to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, making a one-time payment of $115 million to make up for a payment of $97 million that was skipped in 2016, plus interest. 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on SB 9 at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. 


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