House School Funding Proposal Revised, Excludes Private School Scholarship

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick (R-Stilwell) has issued a statement about the education bill indicating that, “Charter schools were not a part of the negotiations with Senate leaders and the Governor. House leadership is introducing a new, separate bill with only the already negotiated provisions included. Any member is welcome to bring an amendment in committee or on the floor to add in charter schools, but it will not be included in the new bill that leadership introduces.”

Thursday it was reported that Kansas House Republicans had outlined a plan that fully funds aid to poor school districts but tied the money to policy changes designed to expand parents' choices on where to send their children.

The plan was contained in a bill introduced Thursday by the GOP-dominated House Appropriations Committee. The panel is expected to have hearings on it next week.

The bill would provide an additional $129 million during the fiscal year beginning in July to poor school districts to comply with a recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling in an education funding lawsuit.

But the measure also gives tax credits for contributing to scholarship funds for private-school students. It also would spur creation of new, state-funded schools operating under independent charters giving them more freedom than typical public schools.

Posted by Carissa Fox