Shawnee County Public Schools join forces to influence new school funding formula

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The five Shawnee County School Districts came together as one to respond to Governor Brownback's call for public input on the transition from block grants to a new school funding formula.

"We all share the same concerns, the same needs. To have us speaking from the same page so it's crystal clear to our legislators in this county that wherever they go every single school district in this county believes these are the top priorities," said Topeka Public School Board President Patrick Woods.

Among those priorities include per pupil funding to put the focus on student needs, and full funding for early childhood education. Which they believe is the best tool to bridge the gap in students who later become at risk due to lack of quality education.

"It's students who are at risk of failing. and we know the best scientific proxy for what we know as students at risk of failure is socioeconomic status so it's almost a 1 to 1 relationship," said Woods.

School leaders also stressed the impact of quality education on economic development.

"I know if I was looking to relocate my family to some other state or some other city in the state of Kansas that would absolutely be the first thing I would be looking at would be quality of education so it stands to reason that businesses are taking that same approach," said Silver Lake School District School Board President Randy Matzke.

With the school formula ultimately in the hands of the legislature, school leaders urge the community to vote to help get back what they once had.

"A lot of these things were there. They were present already in the school formula, and they decided to walk away from that. We're looking to go back and reinstate those things"

Brownback encourages citizens to email their school funding ideas to studentsfirst@ks.gov.

You can send emails through November.