School finance bill passes Kansas House, Senate

WICHITA, Kansas – Late Sunday night, the Kansas legislature passed a plan aimed at boosting school funding for all districts in the state.

The house handed down a vote of 63 to 57 in favor of the plan.

This came almost four hours after the Senate had voted 22 to 17 to pass the conference committee’s report with a 22 to 16 vote.

House Bill 2506 stems from a Kansas State Supreme Court ruling that said legislators had to properly fund and put more equity back into state schools.

Following the ruling, Governor Sam Brownback issued a statement on the passage of the school finance bill.

“The school finance bill passed by the Kansas legislature today fully complies with, and indeed exceeds, the requirements of the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling for funding schools and providing equity,” said Brownback.

Brownback added that the bill would increase funding to Kansas schools by $73 million and includes $78 million of property tax relief.

The bill ensures that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently, putting money in the classrooms to help teachers teach and students learn.

More than 300 teachers from Wichita, Manhattan, Lawrence and surrounding areas converged on the capital, in hopes of having their voice heard.

Larry Smith, a history teacher at East High and member of the United Teachers of Wichita, says they were pushing to have some policies left intact.

The main one being the right for teachers who are facing termination to have due process.

“They’re trying to take away due process rights for teachers, these are rights basically where teachers are going to go through the process where they might be fire, they are entitled to due process,” said Smith.

Both the Senate and House ultimately passed in the bill to eliminate due process.

The bill will now go to Governor Brownback for final approval.

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