Legislators on day 90: plan for budget, school finance outcomes soon

Kansas Statehouse (KSN News)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas lawmakers are nearing the end of the legislative session but two big things remain on the to-do list.

“We can’t go home without two things: a school finance formula and a budget. So there will be an agreement. Are we close to that today? No. But we’re eliminating bad ideas so I think we’re making some progress,” House Democratic Leader Jim Ward said.

Lawmakers are technically on day 90 of the legislative session, and Ward says the state has budgeted for 100 days.

KSN asked Rep. Chuck Weber, R-Wichita, about the pressures of a looming deadline.

“I think the court and the people of Kansas want us to get this right. So I don’t personally feel a deadline persay, I think we just need to get this right,” Weber said.

That includes a factor of accountability, according to Weber.

“Right now, there are no consequences for a failure of a new plan. There’s no accountability. My question is, I’m okay spending more money, but what are we going to get, what are taxpayers going to get, for spending more of their money for education?” Weber said.

When lawmakers examine school financing formulas, they have to consider the achievement gap: one in four Kansas children are not reaching proficiency in reading or math.

“The House K-12 committee is pulling together a formula that’s 90 percent where we need to get to,” Ward said.

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