Saturday, April 19, 2014
Local & State News
Act by July 1 on school funding or court could, Kansas AG tells legislators

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt made it emphatically clear to Republican lawmakers Monday that they must act to fix inequities in school funding before July 1 – or a district court could take action for them.

The state Supreme Court’s decision in a school-funding lawsuit Friday requires the Legislature to equalize local option budget and capital outlay funds for school districts, Schmidt said. The court ruled these funding sources, which draw from local property tax dollars, create unconstitutional disparities between districts.

Fix for K-12 funding isn’t expected to affect state funds for higher education, says senator

The state’s higher-education budget should not be affected by the Legislature’s efforts to fix inequities in K-12 funding, according to the senator who chairs the subcommittee overseeing both budgets.

Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee on Education, convened a short meeting to add in a proviso that the committee acknowledges the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Gannon v. State of Kansas.

AG Schmidt advises Kansas House members on school funding decision

The closer lawmakers get to fully funding fixes for inequities in two school funds, the easier it will be to defend their decisions in court, Attorney General Derek Schmidt told House members on Tuesday.

Schmidt addressed the House Appropriations Committee as it began work to fix inequities in school funding identified in the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this month. Lawmakers face a July 1 court deadline.

Brownback: ‘Significant new funding’ needed to address equity issues for schools

Addressing inequities in school funding identified by the Supreme Court “will require significant new funding,” Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday in a statement.

He did not say how much new funding, nor where the money would come from. The Department of Education and the Kansas Legislative Research Department have calculated equalization of these areas could cost $129 million.

GOP plan would hike aid to poor schools, expand public charter schools

The Kansas Supreme Court gave the Legislature an ultimatum to fix inequalities in school funding by July. On Thursday evening, Kansas House Republicans presented their plan for a solution that would put more money into schools, but would also spur creation of more charter schools.

House Bill 2773, the House Republican answer to the Supreme Court’s decision, is dense – the title alone is 15 lines long – and it proposes significant changes to education in Kansas.

Kansas House leaders to introduce new school-finance bill without charter-school language

Charter schools were never supposed to be part of the Republican plan to fix school finance inequities, according to the speaker of the Kansas House.

Language that would have allowed for rapid expansion of charter schools with little state regulation was added to a bill late Thursday without the knowledge of the governor or of House or Senate leaders.

Kansas Senate gives approval to bill ending renewable energy standards

A bill repealing renewable energy standards for utility companies won approval in the Kansas Senate on Tuesday.

House Bill 2014 would end the renewable portfolio standards that require Kansas utility companies to receive 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Gun bill stalled in House

A gun bill that is stalled on the House floor might have a better chance of advancing through the Senate first, says Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby.

Senate Bill 447, which would prohibit municipalities from enforcing their own gun ordinances in an effort to make understanding the law easier for gun owners as they move throughout the state, had a hearing in the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee on Monday.

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