Questions on classroom spending cloud Kansas schools debate

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback says he and many Kansas legislators aren’t ready to consider big increases in aid to public schools.

Brownback says he first wants to be certain that enough of the money already spent on education is finding its way into the classroom.

Lawmakers who expect to work on a new school funding law next year don’t have a clear definition of what makes up classroom spending.

Their uncertainty is likely to cloud discussions about how to distribute nearly $4.1 billion in annual aid to 286 school districts and how much to increase it.

Brownback’s critics see those arguments as an attempt to justify inadequate education funding. The State Department of Education says in the last school year, districts spent 61 percent of their operating budgets on instruction.