TOPEKA (KSNT) – Governor Sam Brownback signed the state’s “block grant” change to funding public education into law Wednesday, with little fanfare and no news media present.
In a statement released just after 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, the governor’s office said the governor signed the bill which shifts that funding from a complicated formula to a relatively simple “block grant” system for the next two years.
In the statement, the governor says “For the first time ever, we will spend more than $4billion to support K12 education in Kansas. At the same time we are providing those closest to the classroom – teachers and parents – direct control over the future of education by getting money into the classroom to immediately benefit Kansas students.”
Brownback made reform of the spending system a keystone of his State of the State address to the legislature in January, calling it antiquated and broken.
Over the objections of many school districts, teachers and administrators the legislature passed the bill in less than a week after its introduction.
“I want to thank the legislature for restoring the previous allotments through this block grant, as I requested. I further thank the legislature for its efforts in passing this critical step in developing a new formula that recognizes the high quality of Kansas schools and provides a stable source of funding that makes them great for generations of Kansas students to come.”
Lawmakers are now debating a pilot program involving six school districts for a new funding plan. The bill, signed without the presence of media Wednesday, will be in effect for two years while that new system is developed.