School funding plan’s effects on property taxes uncertain

Kansas legislators from both parties say they’re not sure how Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s school-funding proposals would affect the power local districts have to raise local property taxes.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said local property taxes are a key unanswered question about the governor’s proposals. The Topeka Democrat is critical of Brownback’s call to repeal the existing funding formula.

The state’s current funding scheme allows local school districts to impose property taxes to supplement their state funds, but caps the total amount they can raise.

Brownback hasn’t said whether he’d freeze local school taxes at current levels or eliminate the cap on districts’ authority. Spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said those issues have yet to be determined.

Republicans said lawmakers must decide how much taxing power to give districts.