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Plan revives old tensions in Kansas school funding debate

Associated Press - September 3, 2016 4:23 pm

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.

A new funding plan from a group of Kansas school administrators is reviving longstanding regional tensions and spotlighting questions about whether the state spends enough on public education.

One part of the plan was similar to a complex formula to dole out nearly $4.1 billion yearly that legislators junked last year. Instead, legislators went for predictable “block grants” for districts that allow the state to better control its spending.

But other provisions represent a radical departure from past policy, such as stripping local districts of their power to tax. The state would instead raise property taxes statewide as a way to prevent poorer schools from falling too far behind wealthier ones.