Plan to fully fund K-12 schools passes, Gov. Kelly expected to sign

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – After a week of long hours and discussions on education spending, Kansas lawmakers have decided to fully-fund K-12 public schools.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agreed on a plan Thursday evening. The Senate voted to pass the bill in a 35-4 vote on Friday; it then moved to the House where it passed 107-9.

Governor Laura Kelly would need to sign off on the bill, or there would need to be a two-thirds majority vote in the Legislature for approval. This means at least 27 votes in the Senate, and 84 in the House.

The governor released a statement on Friday, applauding the legislature’s bipartisan efforts.

The plan fully funds schools through fiscal year 2023. It also restricts the number of hours schools can use remote learning, and expands an existing tax-credit scholarship program for low-income students.

The original proposals from the House stirred controversy, as opponents called them “school voucher” bills, arguing that it would use tax-payer dollars to fund private schools.

“It is less expansive on the private-school aid,” said Mark Tallman, a lobbyist with the Kansas Association of School Boards. “It did seem like this was a pretty good way to answer everyone’s biggest priorities.”

Senator Molly Baumgardner said the plan would also address the needs of struggling students, and those with disabilities, like dyslexia.

“For the first time, schools will be able to use that money for teacher training,” Baumgardner said. “So, that is going to be a significant change.”

To watch live House proceedings, click here.

To livestream Senate proceedings, click here.

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