KASB Daily Education Roundup, Thur. March 14

Two vastly different school finance approaches were debated Thursday and Republican leaders sent Gov. Laura Kelly a tax cut bill that she will likely veto.

SB 22 would cut taxes by approximately $209 million in the next fiscal year, with about two-thirds of the cut going to corporations. The bill would also benefit some individuals who itemize and reduce the state sales tax on food from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

Kelly, a Democrat, issued a statement saying the bill would “undo all the progress we’ve made.” Kelly has said she wants to hold off on tax cuts for a year so state revenue can recover to make needed investments in education, social services, public safety and highways. With only GOP support, the Senate approved the House-amended version of the bill 24-16. KASB opposes the legislation, saying the loss of revenue jeopardizes the ability of the state to fund schools and other budget needs.

Meanwhile on school finance, the Senate advanced SB 142, which provides $90 million in additional funding on top of increases approved last year for the next three years. Supporters of the bill, which includes KASB, say the increase is needed to address the inflation adjustment called for by the Kansas Supreme Court in the long running Gannon litigation.

Kelly said she was pleased with Senate’s bipartisan 32-8 passage “We will continue to work with lawmakers to move this bill through the process,” she said.

On the House side, however, legislators took up a vastly different school finance plan. HB 2395, before the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, would cut off previously approved funding increases increases in two years and make numerous policy changes, such as private school vouchers for bullying targets, caps on school district cash balances, provisions governing roofing bids and more. KASB testified against the bill. KASB has provided a review and summary of the bill.

The committee will continue its hearing Monday and will start working on the bill Tuesday.

A Facebook Live wrap-up of the day’s events can be seen here.

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