Lawmakers Outline School Funding Plan

Top Republicans in the Kansas Legislature have outlined a school funding plan that they say brings stability to providing aid for local school districts.

The proposal unveiled Thursday by the chairmen of the Legislature’s budget committees replaces the state’s existing formula for distributing aid to school districts.

Districts instead would receive “block grants” based on their current aid, including the state’s contributions for teacher pensions. State aid including pension payments is about $4 billion annually.

GOP leaders said total state aid for schools would increase over the next two years, but budget projections have shown the state’s pension contributions rising.

The plan would allow districts to continue raising the same local property tax dollars to supplement their state aid. They’d also get more flexibility in tapping reserve funds.