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Brownback's Plans Defy Court Order On Schools

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is calling for a fresh round of aggressive cuts in Kansas income taxes and changes in the state Constitution to rein in the judiciary.

Brownback reaffirmed in the prepared version of his State of the State address Tuesday evening that his goal is to eventually eliminate income taxes. But his plan for further reductions is tied to keeping the state sales tax at its current rate, rather letting it drop in July as previously planned.

Brownback's speech came just days after a three-member panel of trial judges ruled the state must boost its annual aid to public schools by at least $440 million.

Brownback endorsed proposed constitutional amendments on education funding and the selection of judges for the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

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Brownback wants to spend $12 million to help Kansas elementary school students who struggle with reading.

In the prepared version of his State of the State address, the governor outlined three-part initiative called Kansas Reads to Succeed.

Besides the funding to for programs to help struggling readers, Brownback is also proposing to require third-graders to demonstrate an ability to read as a condition of being promoted.

Additional incentives would be provided to elementary schools that do the best at boosting fourth-grade reading scores.

Brownback says 29 percent of Kansas fourth-graders can't read at a basic level. The governor says promoting elementary school pupils who can't read is "irresponsible and cruel."


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