Bill that would eliminate $18 million in grants for Kansas schools advances to House

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) –  Millions of dollars of grant money for Kansas schools could be on the chopping block.

Lawmakers in charge of the U.S. Department of Education’s budget voted last Wednesday a funding bill that would eliminate Title II grant money for school districts across the country.

The bill passed out of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee and now heads to the full House of Representatives.

Mark Tallman, the Associate Executive Director for the Kansas Association of School Boards stressed the importance of Title II grants.

He says they help make the instructional process for teachers better.

“So a lot of the focus is on professional development activities for teachers, helping to adapt to use technology, it also has a component to allow you to do class size reduction,” said Tallman.

Tallman says the state saw enough value in what title two offered that they budgeted to put money towards it for the next two fiscal years.

“The bill adds, at the state level, $1.7 million for professional development next year and the same amount the following year, adds $800,000 to the mentor, teacher program,” said Tallman.

The state receives much more from the federal government, upwards of $18 million a year.

“We stand the risk of having much more taken away at the Federal level than was added at the state level,” said Tallman.

Something Tallman says he doesn’t think the state would be able to make up.

“If you lose that, you simply will not have the money to do some of the innovative things that are important if education is going to get better,” said Tallman.

The education bill, as it currently stands, would increase special education spending by $200 million, increasing it to $12.2 billion.

There would also be $100 million increase for the Title IV block grant.

This is designed to support school district programs, like student well-being and education technology.

It is unclear if the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the bill before they leave Washington D.C. on Friday for an extended home work period.

That work period is slated to last until Labor Day.

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