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Smoky Hill Museum
Paul McCartney

Most New Funds for Kansas Schools Would Lessen Local Taxes

staff - June 19, 2016 5:49 am

Restoring state funding for higher education is a structural way to keep college costs down for students, the head of Kansas' governing board of education said after a community college announced plans to develop a degree costing just $15,000.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – If Kansas legislators increase aid to poor school districts to satisfy a recent state Supreme Court order, much of the money would go to dropping local property taxes instead of classroom spending.

That bothers many Republicans.

The Legislature convenes Thursday for a special session to address the court’s order last month declaring that the state’s education funding system remains unfair to poor school districts. The justices warned that schools might not be able to reopen after June 30 if further changes aren’t made.

Gov. Sam Brownback has embraced a proposal to increase education funding by $38 million for the 2016-17 school year to help poor districts. But as much as 75 percent of the new dollars would to property tax relief, replacing existing dollars that districts already raise locally.

City of Salina