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Arpke: Education Funding Will Dominate Session

KSAL Staff - January 12, 2014 7:38 pm

Uncertainty shadows the Kansas Legislature as it prepares to open its annual session Monday.

Lawmakers are waiting for a state Supreme Court decision on whether the state is spending enough money on its public schools.

Leaders from both parties believe education funding will be the Republican-dominated Legislature’s most pressing issue once the high court issues its decision.

Salina Senator Tom Arpke tells KSAL News that he had hoped the Kansas Supreme Court would have announced a decision when several other decisions were announced this past Friday. Instead, legislators must wait. Arpke says that the uncertainty of what the the courts will decide in regard to education funding makes it difficult to come up with a realistic budget.

A three-judge panel in Shawnee County ruled a year ago that the state must boost annual aid to school districts by at least $440 million. Such a decision threatens personal income tax cuts enacted at Brownback’s urging.

Legislators also expect to wrestle with budget, pension and criminal justice issues.

Arpke also sees the new conceal carry law becoming an issue, particularly in regard to public buildings.