Kansas school leaders formulate school finance framework

TOPEKA (KSNT) — More than 100 public school leaders from all over Kansas gathered in Topeka Wednesday to work on a new framework for school finance.

For months lawmakers have been talking about changing the way we fund public education.

We’ve told you about a few lawmakers latest plan to only fund instruction in public schools.

“I think it would be devastating for public education if that were to pass into law,” said Dr. Marty Stessman, Superintendent of Shawnee Heights public schools.

That proposal wouldn’t provide state funding for central administration, extracurricular activities or food service.

So educators are working to come up with proposal of their own.

One that meet’s lawmakers request for more predictability and stability.

“You know we want what’s best for our kids, but that’s not always going to be what’s affordable.so somewhere in the middle we have to be able to meet and have a rational conversation that this is what we can accept, and this is what we can afford as a state,” said G.A Buie Executive Director of United School Administrators of Kansas.

A few of their ideas include providing districts with a set amount of money based on the prior year’s enrollment, creating a tiered system for equalizing bond aid and reformulating the way the state pays for at risk students.

“I think what you want to try to do with whatever formula you have is to make it equitable for all districts and I think this particular formula does a much better job of that,” said Stessman.

And at the end of the discussion, educators felt confident the framework they’ve put together will work.

“It’s really focused on what would be best for kids, not what would be best for eliminating resources from the state,” said Dr. Julie Ford, Superintendent of Topeka Public Schools.

“I like the framework that’s being discussed today and I hope they give it due consideration,” said Stessman.

Now they hope lawmakers will take those suggestions to heart, as they craft the final finance formula.

Lawmakers return for a final wrap up session on April 27th.

It’s not clear yet if they will take up the topic of school finance.

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