Legislature Tackling School Funding Problem

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Topeka, KS. -- The first hearing in the Kansas Legislature on a new school funding formula to comply with a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling starts with a surprise.

The Republican Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee resigned as Chairman before Monday morning's hearing even started. Newton representative Marc Rhodes said he can't support a school funding plan drafted by his own party.

Earlier this month the Kansas Supreme Court ruled there are two flaws amounting to a $129 million dollar shortfall in aid to poor school districts.

The court ordered the legislature to fix the problem by July 1st. But there must still be a full house debate and legislators begin a three week recess on Friday, April 4th.

Part of the first Republican plan would adjust transportation aid to all of the state's school districts.

Goddard School Superintendent Justin Henry, who attended the hearing said the original GOP plan would cut his district's $2 million dollar budget by $400,000 by cutting transportation reimbursement. And Augusta Superintendent John Black says his bus budget would lose $44,000. "With the fact that we do not have new money coming in and expenses going up we're having to cut in a significant number of places", said Black.

The Wichita School District may be hit by over $1 million in transportation cuts. However, the bill has already been amended and many are taking a wait and see attitude to see what the final bill will look like.

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