Lawmakers debate education budget, could impact federal dollars heading to Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Lawmakers are trying to decide how to spend billions of tax dollars.

The clock is ticking for the Kansas Legislature to pass a budget and to determine how to fund the state’s education system. Lawmakers want to have the plans completed by the end of this week.

“They’ve got some major things to do. There’s no budget or no finalized budget, and we definitely need education,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “We need to fully fund our schools, so they’ve got all that work to do and I hope that that’s how they focus their time remaining here in Topeka.”

Lawmakers are going back and forth about how much to fund different levels of the education system in Kansas.

If lawmakers don’t fund K-12 and higher education at certain percentages of the entire state budget, Kansas could miss out on federal coronavirus relief dollars directed specifically for schools.

“If we don’t do one, we lose both with the federal government. So if we don’t adhere to higher education, we risk the loss of federal funding on the K-12 education side as well,” said Bunker Hill Representative Troy Waymaster, chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

He said the current plan for K-12 exceeds the federal target, but according to calculations, more would be needed for higher education.

House and Senate members are expected to work out differences in the coming days.

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