Brownback seeks Kansas educators’ opinions on funding

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP/KSNT) — Gov. Sam Brownback outlined his plans for soliciting opinions from Kansas educators about how to rewrite the state’s school funding laws.

Brownback held a news conference Wednesday afternoon as dozens of local education officials gathered in Topeka for a forum on school funding sponsored by the Kansas Association of School Boards.

The plan outlined Wednesday would do away with a system of allowing districts to raise extra money beyond what the state provides. Instead the state would have a single property tax that, along with state aid, would cover districts’ operating costs.

It was drafted by about 30 administrators and presented during a Kansas Association of School Boards forum. Kansas lawmakers in 2015 junked a per-pupil funding formula in favor of stable block grants for districts.

Under the proposed funding system, local districts would no longer set their own property tax levies for schools. The plan also would return the state to a per-pupil funding system.

The Republican governor was joined by Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson and State Board of Education Chairman Jim McNiece.

Brownback says the time for reform in education funding is now.

“I invite educators to work with me to develop a Kansas Education funding system providing students with skills, knowledge and character to succeed.”

The GOP-dominated Legislature’s leaders anticipate writing a new school funding formula next year.

The Kansas Supreme Court plans to hear arguments from attorneys Sept. 21 on whether the state’s $4 billion-plus in annual aid to public schools is adequate. The court is considering a lawsuit filed by four districts in 2010.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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