Legislators coming together to find education fix

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It’s crunch time for lawmakers. They have until the end of this week to come up with an education plan to pay for Kansas schools.

The future of education could now be in the hands of six lawmakers, three Representatives and three Senators in a conference committee.

They spent the day going back and forth trying to reach a compromise on bills they’ve discussed. Those include the governor’s funding plan that was passed out of the Senate, and the House’s new school policies bill.

“We are giving billions of dollars to schools annually to fund our priority, and that’s students in Kansas,” said Representative Kristey Williams.

“If we’re going to do that then we need to ensure that there is a true partnership between school districts and the legislature,” she said.

Topeka Senator Anthony Hensley is also on the committee with Rep. Williams.

“We’re a long way away from where we should be and the most important thing is that before we adjourn on Friday of this week is that we need to pass a school finance bill. That will then go to the court and let the court review and determine whether it’s constitutional or not,” said Sen. Hensley.

Lawmakers are working to satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court order that mandates the legislature to adjust future education funding for inflation. The Senate has passed a funding bill and is now trying to convince the House to follow suit.

“They’re coming in from a very weak position to try to argue against the bill that we passed when they haven’t passed a bill at all, said Sen. Hensley.

“We just provide $90 million and walk away but we don’t target those funds, we don’t ask for additional accountability, then I think we have missed our role as legislators,” said Rep. Williams.

A vote on the matter in both chambers is expected by the end of this week, before the legislature goes on break until May.

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