Senate votes down controversial education bill

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Senate failed to pass a controversial education bill on Friday.

This, after the bill failed on Thursday night, as lawmakers didn’t have the votes. A revote was called for on Friday, and the measure failed once again.

On Thursday, the House passed the funding bill that sends billions of dollars to Kansas schools, but not everyone was on board with it.

“As a huge supporter for public education, it is hard for me not to vote for a budget to fund our schools, but I have serious concerns with this bill,” Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes said.

Critics don’t like how the bill allows money to be sent to struggling students to spend at private schools.

“We would do better to fund mentoring programs, and support kids in their public education than to divert these funds to support moving them out of public education into private education.”

Lakin Representative Russ Jennings.

Supporters said the current system isn’t working, and something needs to change.

“Honestly I get tired of excuses,” said Augusta Representative Kristey Williams. “We got to do something, we’re not providing a good return on investment for our taxpayers, and we’re not doing a service to our students.”

The bill passed by a slim majority in the House 64 to 59. It failed in the Senate 20 to 20.

Those that opposed the bill said just because they didn’t vote for it doesn’t mean they don’t want to improve education in the state.

“It’s implied that in a lot of the discussions that if you don’t vote to support this, you’re not supporting children, and I just would say that I find that incredibly personally insulting,” said Lakin Representative Russ Jennings.

The opponents of the bill were a bipartisan group, while not a single Democrat voted for it.

“This bill does not, as I’ve said before, solve the problem of achievement, said Kansas City Representative Valdenia Winn.

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