As deadline looms, Kan., lawmakers prepare to debate new funding proposal and possibly vote Friday

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The school funding issue in Kansas could be solved as early as Friday.  Lawmakers in both the House and Senate are expected to debate and possibly vote on a new plan to fund schools.

The new bill would cut every school district’s operating budget by half a percent. That money would help lawmakers scrape together the $38-million they need to give to poorer schools and satisfy the courts to keep schools open.

Under the proposed plan, Blue Valley would lose around $3-million, Shawnee Mission $2-million and Olathe $1-million. KCK Schools would receive around $1-million more than under the old plan.

Superintendents from Johnson County and across the state came together to work with lawmakers on the plan.

"Our superintendents stepped up to the plate. They realized that they wanted to keep schools open, they wanted to lead and they did," Representative Rob Ryckman Jr., said. "And they came together, and they said we support you, and we want you to go forward with the bill that does shift money from our schools together so they can remain open."

While many local school districts would lose money, they’ve agreed it’s better than shutting schools down on June 30.

In effect, it reverts the way the state finances schools to the old formula – and lawmakers just hope if it gets passed, the courts agree this is enough to equalize funding between richer and poorer school districts.

This school funding proposal will be debated Friday at 9 a.m., in both the House and Senate. It will need two-thirds of the vote to pass.

 

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