House school finance discussion next week to include policy issues eliminated from appropriations bill

“A key House member said Wednesday that school finance discussion next week will include charter school expansion and that leadership negotiations on the amount of new money the Legislature will allocate for schools continue.
The House Appropriations Committee received a briefing on a bill meant to satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court school finance ruling but Rep. Marc Rhoades, the committee’s chairman, told members not to limit themselves to the parameters of that bill once an official hearing begins Monday.
‘Bring it,’ Rhoades said of members’ individual ideas. ‘Bring it next week, and we’ll have a discussion on it.’ . . .
Rhoades said private leadership negotiations on how much new money would be allocated versus how much would be shifted remain ongoing.
He said only 20 percent of what is allocated to equalize local option budgets would actually go to the schools, with the rest going to reduce mill levies in certain counties.”

We oppose bundling the Gannon equity remedy with bad education policy. We also question why leadership is so opposed to property tax relief for Kansans in poorer school districts which was set in statute before the large income tax cuts of last year. We realize that the ruling on adequacy hasn’t been made yet, and that ruling is more likely to address funding in classrooms. Unfortunately, most of the proposals circulating so far intend to cut operating budgets even more rather than addressing the equity shortfalls on their own.

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