A bill to better fund public schools in Kansas is now in the hands of the governor. That’s thanks to Kansas lawmakers who worked into the early morning hours Sunday to pass the bill.
The Senate approved the bill by a narrow margin of 21-19. It proposes to add $534 million to Kansas schools over the next five years.
Governor Jeff Colyer said he intends to sign it.
“We’ve been supporting this,” he said. “This is a good compromise.”
Some lawmakers like State Representative and Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman (R) and State Sen. Lynn Rogers (D) agree.
“I think we improved our bill from the last time we saw it with better policy that’s going to help our kids,” Rep. Ryckman said.
“While this bill is not perfect, I’m comfortable with where we need to go and what we need to do,” Sen. Rogers said.
However, some took the floor to argue the budget will be too tight.
“This sucks us dry on all the other budget needs,” State Sen. Susan Wagle (R) said.
Governor Colyer said he won’t increase taxes to pay for more school funding. Instead, he said he has a plan to run government services more efficiently to help make room in the budget.
“I’m going to be requiring every cabinet agency to have real outcomes that you can measure, that you can see,” he said.
He’s also counting on economic growth in Kansas to help pay for the funding increase.
“As the Kansas economy grows, I think we can accommodate it, but the budgets will be tight,” Governor Colyer said.
He said preparing kids for modern jobs in Kansas will pay off in the future.
Governor Colyer said they will have a better understanding of the entire state budget in about three weeks. He’s waiting to receive final budget estimates.
Lawmakers will return back to the Capitol on April 26th.