New School Funding Plan for Kansas Draws Skeptics

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, December 19, 2011

Some Southeast Kansas school superintendents said that while they are trying to keep an open mind about Gov. Sam Brownback’s new school funding plan, they are skeptical.



Several area schools would see an increase in funding under the plan; others would remain the same.

Brownback says his education funding plan will end lawsuits currently pending over how Kansas finances public education, but others aren’t so sure. Kansas enacted its current school finance formula in 1992, in response to a lawsuit then. The state revised the formula in 2005 and 2006, also in response to lawsuits, with the Kansas Supreme Court mandating large increases in aid to public schools.

The Supreme Court’s rulings in 2005 and 2006 said funding must be tied to the actual costs of providing a suitable education, leading to the $4,492 target that was set for state aid per student.

But when the recession began in 2008, Brownback successfully pushed legislators to cut base state aid per pupil to help balance the state budget. It’s now $3,780 per pupil, more than $700 short of the $4,492 Kansas law sets as the goal.

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