Kansas Dems Set to Release School Funding Plan

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Democrats released a school funding proposal on Tuesday, as school finance reform tops the to-do list for lawmakers in the new legislative session.

The Democratic school funding proposal is in line in many respects with one released by Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback – particularly in the area of per-student cost. But it differs from Brownback’s plan in that it does not eliminate some funding for at-risk students as well as millions of dollars in cuts for children with special needs.

School districts across the state have gone through three years of deep budget cuts, and most agree that a new state funding plan is needed. Brownback’s plan would give school districts a single payment based on student population and property values.

Critics say that his proposed cuts could hurt some districts, but supporters say that the governor’s plan lets local school boards have more freedom to spend funds as they see fit.

“It’s changing the definition of how schools get money and it changes the whole formula based on equalization,” said Sen. Jean Schodorf, R- Wichita.

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