TOPEKA (AP) — The Latest on the Kansas Legislature’s debate over school funding (all times local): Republican leaders in the Kansas Senate say their chamber will not debate proposals to boost funding on public schools until legislators put an amendment to the state constitution on the ballot to strip the courts of their power to rule on whether the state’s spending is sufficient.
Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita and Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park said Tuesday that lawmakers must end the court battles forcing lawmakers to consider higher spending.
A House committee is reviewing such an amendment. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that the state’s current spending on schools of more than $4 billion a year is not sufficient under the state constitution. The House passed a bill Tuesday to phase in a roughly $520 million increase over five years.
Republican legislators in Kansas have advanced two rival plans that increase funding for public schools in hopes of satisfying a state Supreme Court mandate. The House approved a bill Tuesday that would phase in a roughly $520 million increase in education funding over five years. The 71-53 vote sent it to the Senate. But a special GOP-controlled Senate committee on school finance approved its own bill Tuesday. It would phase in an increase of $274 million over five years while targeting much of the new money to early childhood education. A Senate debate is next.
Many Democrats question whether either plan would satisfy the Supreme Court. The court ruled in October that the state’s current spending of more than $4 billion a year is not sufficient under the state constitution.