Kansas House Passes School Funding Plan

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- 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 school finance bill that passed the Kansas House today with bipartisan support increases funding to Kansas schools by $83 million and includes $74 million of property tax relief," said Brownback. "I am pleased with the broad bipartisan support for a plan that puts money into the classrooms where it best benefits students and teachers."

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.

The Senate's 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.