Analysis: Kansas county shapes state schools debate

(KSN photo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – As Kansas lawmakers fashion a plan to meet a court mandate to increase aid to the state’s poor school districts, the concerns of the state’s most populous county complicate the debate.

Legislators and Gov. Sam Brownback can’t ignore the Kansas City suburbs and farther-out communities in Johnson County.

Nearly 22 percent of the state’s voters live there, and no other county provides more sales or income tax revenues to the state’s coffers to help pay for public schools.

Some Johnson County legislators are uneasy with preliminary discussions following the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling March 7 in an education funding lawsuit. It ordered more aid for poor districts.

Johnson County lawmakers worry that as their colleagues help poor districts, schools in relatively affluent Johnson County will be the losers.

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