Kansas Democrats said that they want to spend some of the state's expected revenue surplus to restore funding to Kansas public schools that has been cut in recent years.The plan calls for increasing school funding by $45 million in the 2012-13 school year, $45 million more in 2013-14 and $90 million more in 2014-15. Democrats said the increases would raise the base aid per student from the current $3,780 to $4,047 by 2015.
The proposal is in stark contrast to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's desire to rewrite the school finance formula and place more responsibility for education funding on local boards of education.
"There is no reason to overhaul a school finance formula that has already withstood the muster of the Kansas Supreme Court," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence. "The Legislature simply needs to hold up its end of the bargain and fund the formula properly."
The governor's staff recently outlined its new school finance formula, the first major revision in nearly two decades. The governor's staff said Brownback's proposed budget will include an additional $24 million during the current fiscal year and $21 million during fiscal 2013 to keep base state aid for public schools at the current $3,780 per pupil.
Senate President Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican, said given the cuts to education in recent years, legislators need to take a look at all school finance options available, including the governor's and Democrats'.