Committee continues work on school finance

Committee continues work on school finance bill

The House K-12 Education Budget Committee is expected on Friday to advance a much-amended school finance bill to the full House for consideration.

House Bill 2410 has been the focus of school finance discussions to address a Kansas Supreme Court order to put together a new formula by July 1 to replace the unconstitutional block grant system.

The bill would restore many provisions of the pre-block grant school finance formula and increase school funding by approximately $750 million over five years.

Two controversial provisions have been added to the bill. One requires school districts to provide Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy to students with an autism spectrum disorder upon request of the parents, if ordered by licensed physician, psychologist, or specialist clinical social worker. The other requires school districts to transfer a portion of local foundation funding (currently the local option budget) to at-risk and bilingual programs.

Meanwhile, the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance has begun meetings. KASB has submitted testimony, which supports the State Board of Education new accountability and accreditation system and calls for increased funding to support the success of all students, including those currently performing lower than they peers.

In the testimony, KASB says that while Kansas ranks high in student achievement, after years of inadequate funding, cracks are starting to appear.

“Kansas is at best `treading water’ in school funding when other states are swimming faster. The first consistent decline in reading and math scores suggest we may actually be starting to drown,” KASB stated.

Here is a link to that testimony.

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