GOP lawmaker suggests consolidating Kansas school districts

Kansas Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth, says consolidating state school districts would make funding fairer for all district.

Kansas Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, R-Leavenworth. (Courtesy Kansas Senate)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Republican state senator is suggesting that Kansas move to consolidate public school districts as it works to make education funding fairer.

Sen. Steve Fitzgerald of Leavenworth raised the issue Wednesday during a committee hearing on a bill to redistribute $39 million during the 2016-17 school year to help poor districts.

The bill is a response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling last month that the state has been unfairly shorting poor school districts on their aid.

A district’s wealth has been measured by its average property value per student. If a small district loses a few students, its wealth can appear to rise significantly.

Fitzgerald said the situation would be less volatile with fewer large school districts. The state now has 286 districts.

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