UPDATE: Kansas House passes school funding plan

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Kansas House has approved a bill boosting aid to poor Kansas school districts, clearing the way for negotiations with the Senate over school funding issues.

The House vote Friday evening was 91-31. It came only a few hours after GOP Gov. Sam Brownback met with majority Republicans to praise the plan and urge them to support it.

The House measure would increase aid to the state's poorest school districts by $141 million, partially offsetting the cost with adjustments elsewhere in the budget.

The Senate passed its own, less generous school funding plan early Friday, 23-17. Senate Republicans linked the new money to education policies such as blocking the use of multistate reading and math standards.

Legislative leaders hoped a final plan would pass by Saturday.

Previous story:

Kansas House leaders have given first-round approval to a $141 million school funding plan.

The House is expected to take a final vote late Friday. ,

It's the last major piece of legislation on the agenda before lawmakers start a three-week recess.

The House voted 84-36 to advance the measure just hours after Governor Sam Brownback praised the plan in a meeting with Republicans.

Final approval by the House would clear the way for negotiations with the Senate. The Senate approved its own school funding plan at about 1:30 a.m. Friday.

Both of the plans are designed to comply with an order from the Kansas Supreme Court directing lawmakers to increase aid to poor school districts.

But the House plan provides an additional $141 million during the next school year, offsetting the cost with budget adjustments elsewhere.

Kansas House leaders have delayed the start of debate over a $141 million school funding plan, the last major piece of legislation on the agenda before starting a three-week recess.

GOP leaders cleared Friday's calendar of unrelated matters before breaking to discuss the school plan's contents with the majority party. Democrats were huddled elsewhere to review the bill, which seeks to increase school funding to satisfy a March 7 Kansas Supreme Court ruling.

Legislators are expected to finish work on a final school bill to be brokered by House and Senate negotiators late Friday or Saturday. A final version would then be approved this weekend and sent to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback to sign.

Senators approved their own version early Friday, which included numerous policy provisions as well as spending.

Original story:

The Kansas Senate has approved a Republican education funding plan that includes a measure blocking public schools from using multistate reading and math standards.

The vote early Friday morning was 23-17 and sent the measure to the House, which planned to debate an alternative plan later Friday.

The measure aims to boost aid to poor school districts to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last month in an education funding lawsuit. But conservative Republicans added other policy provisions.

One would make it easier for school administrators to fire teachers who've been on the job for more than three years.

Another would prevent the spending of tax dollars through June 2017 on implementing multistate Common Core reading and math standards. The State Board of Education adopted them in 2010.

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