State Board approves budget request for Gannon response

The Kansas State Board of Education agreed Tuesday to support an inflation adjustment for the Legislature’s five-year school finance plan adopted in response to the Kansas Supreme Court. It also approved $5 million in school safety grants funded by the 2018 Legislature, which covered less than half of the $13 million requested by school districts.

In June, the court approved the legislative plan for the upcoming school year (2018-19) but said the Legislature would need to provide an adjustment for inflation for the next four years of the plan, 2020 through 2023, to provide constitutionally suitable school funding. The Legislature will have to respond during the upcoming 2019 session.

The 2018 Legislature approved future increases in foundational state aid per pupil expected to increase general fund budgets by about $105 million per year from 2020 through 2023. The State Board’s proposal would provide an additional $95 million per year, based on a 1.44 percent inflation rate.

The Supreme Court accepted a method of calculating suitable funding using the 2010 school finance level as a baseline and adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (Midwest). However, the Legislature stopped adjusting for inflation in 2017 in calculating its response. The court said the Legislature must include the impact of inflation for 2018 through 2023.

Last year, general school funding was increased by approximately $200 million. A similar increase was provided this year if a $44 million increase in special education is included.

In addition to the inflation adjustment for base aid, the State Board also proposed to increase special aid funding form the current 83 percent of special education “excess cost” to the 92 percent level set as the target in state law, phased-in over four years. The Legislature has not met the 92 percent level since 2011. It would require $65 million to funding special education aid at 92 percent in 2020. The cost of a four-year phase-in was not immediately available, as costs will rise over the period.

The Board agreed to request an increase of $15 million for supplemental general (local option budget) state aid and $3.5 million for capital state outlay aid in the budget for the next two years to fully fund these two equalization formulas.

Some other items in the State Board budget request approved yesterday:

Increase mentor teacher funding from $1.3 million to $3 million to fully fund the program.

Increase professional development funding from $1.7 million to $9.7 million to fully fund program.

Increase school lunch aid from $2.5 million to $3.2 million to fully fund state law.

No change in pre-K pilot funding, which was doubled by the Legislature this year.

Add $1 million to fully fund technical education transportation for students who travel to another site for programs and add $700,000 to fully fund incentives for high-need technical education certificates.

Add $312,500 million to fund afterschool programs at 2011 levels.

Seek the same level of funding for various programs added by the 2018 Legislature this year, including school safety grants, school mental health and juvenile crisis transition pilots, and state funding for ACT and WorkKeys testing.

The board delayed action on a second year of funding for a new Teach for America program approved by the Legislature to begin this school year. A presentation on TFA will be presented to the board today.


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