Sizzling Session

By: Brooke Erickson
By: Brooke Erickson

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The budget that’s been declared unconstitutional by a Topeka judge won’t be undergoing any makeovers any time soon.

State lawmakers adjourned Saturday night with no plan to fix the budget crisis facing public schools. Wichita schools will suffer. The district will have to cut $9 million from its budget.

One plan Senator Jean Schodorf favored was passed by the Senate, but killed in the House. It called for $82 million in transportation funds to be diverted to the classrooms and prevented any tax increases, something Schodorf says the public usually likes.

Schodorf particularly liked it because it would have given $9.7 million to Wichita schools and $700,000 to Maize. But again, the plan didn’t pass in the house.

“It’s very simple and it’s very frustrating. People don’t want increased taxes, but want good schools,” says Schodorf.

Schodorf says there’s one last hope. Later this month, lawmakers will reconvene for sine die. It’s the official last day of the session, during which each chamber can present a plan to fix the finance fiasco. If nothing comes of that, the governor could call a special session, costing taxpayers $60,000 per day.

Schodorf says it’s “Very risky change to call a special session, because you can’t ever predict what the legislature will do.”

Lawmakers will meet for sine die May 27.

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