Topeka area superintendent reacts to funding bill

TOPEKA (KSNT) – At the end of last week, Kansas lawmakers stepped up and voted for a school funding bill they think will meet the state’s supreme court’s ruling to equalize funding.

Now that the weekend is over, local superintendents have had a chance to review the legislation and see how it would effect their schools.

“I like the bill, I like what the bill does but the bill is founded or based on a very tenuous budget situation,” said Dr. Marty Stessman, superintendent at Shawnee Heights.

The bill, which passed 116-6 in the House and 38-1 in the Senate, finds funds to meet the court’s demands from virtual school state aid, the extraordinary needs fun, TANF aid and the sale of the assets from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

However, on Friday during the Senate vote, republican Governor Sam Brownback said schools shouldn’t count on that money from the sale.

“They should be counting on that the litigation is resolved,” he said. “That the equalization has been dealt with by agreement with the plaintiff’s lawyers as well. And so that piece of this is resolved, the schools shouldn’t be closed down by the courts.”

Although Stessman said the new legislation does not mean more money for schools, he does question having the proceeds from the sale as part of the solution.

“It’s like your selling your golf clubs to pay the electric bill,” Stessman said. “We got the electric bill paid this month but our salary is the same and we don’t have any more golf clubs to sell.”

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