Education bills finally being debated in legislature

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Education, it’s a topic that has been hovering over this legislative session. Now it’s finally being debated.

Lawmakers went back and forth on an education policy bill that includes a variety of topics like bullying, dyslexia, and graduation requirements.

It is so liberating when you free yourself and vote for the people, no school district, no one out there support this bill, said Olathe Representative Cindy Holscher, who voted no.

There are pieces in there that as a local school board member, I’m like, should the legislature really be telling us how to do things, so that is concerning and I get that, but there were other pieces that are good and again, we have to keep this process moving forward, said Topeka Representative Fred Patton, who was a yes vote.

The bill narrowly passed the House and attention turned to funding education. Earlier this month, the Senate passed the governor’s education funding plan.

I think something between where the House is headed and where the Senate is currently at is where I’d like to see us end up, said Rep. Patton.

The current House bill would have less funding for schools than the legislature’s previous plan.

Our concern is that the House bill would actually take us farther away from getting to the suitable level the supreme court has identified, said Mark Tallman, executive director of communications for the Kansas Association of School Boards.

He said the state’s education system would suffer.

It effectively means your raises fall behind, your salaries fall behind, you tend to have to cut positions and programs because your funding isn’t keeping up with your costs, that’s what’s happened in the last ten years in Kansas, said Tallman.

Lawmakers could have a long night ahead of them on Tuesday and may vote whether to move forward with the bill then.

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