Gov. Kelly’s school funding bill passes the Senate, moves to the House

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Senate gave final approval to a school funding bill, a step forward as lawmakers try to meet a Kansas Supreme Court ruling.

Both the Senate President and the Governor are on the same page saying that the litigation has to end soon.

“What we’re hearing from all across the state is end the litigation. We’re tired of the continual pull between the court and the legislature,” said Sen. Susan Wagle (R-Wichita).

Wagle predicted Gov. Laura Kelly's plan adding $92-million to schools would pass the Senate. She just worries if the state can afford it.

“The school ruling that we keep coming back to every year with this Gannon case is squeezing all our other agencies and needs out of the picture,” Wagle explained.

Governor Kelly’s funding plan is backed by the State Board of Education. But the plaintiff schools who once supported it now say it’s not enough. They want $270-million a year.

“I’ve already told them that we are going to stick with our original figure. I’m confident that we’re going to get this through the legislature and that this is what we’ll be sending over to the court,” said Gov. Kelly (D-Kansas).

Some Republicans hope backing her bill convinces Kelly to sign onto their tax cut plan that's being worked out in conference committee.

“I think that everybody needs to be patient. Let the dust settle. Let us get into the next fiscal year and we’ll have a better sense of what the real numbers are, and then we can talk about it,” Kelly replied.

The Senate's final vote of 32 to eight sends the school funding bill to the House.

But adding another wrinkle to the debate, the House Education Committee introduced a new funding bill. It includes a say in how new dollars are spent and a voucher program to allow bullied kids to switch to private schools.