Error in school finance bill could impact Kansas Supreme Court mandate

Capitol Bureau

A school funding plan which passed the Kansas legislature contains a multi-million dollar error. 

The error was discovered by the Kansas Department of Education. 

If it’s not corrected, the school funding bill could fall short of the Supreme Court’s mandate to properly fund schools. 

Early Sunday morning, the legislature passed a school funding bill adding more than $520 million to schools over the next five years. 

However, an $80 million error could impact how much school districts would actually receive. 

The error calculated local property taxes in place of state dollars.  If the error isn’t fixed, the bill would only add about $454 million to schools.

Senate President Susan Wagle opposes the school funding plan passed Sunday morning. When asked about the error, Wagle said in a statement:

“It is not unusual for a mistake to occur when the committee process is circumvented and new language is inserted on the floor. We will have our attorneys look at the problem this morning and see what the best remedy would be.”

The school funding bill is in response to the state Supreme Court ruling schools are not properly funded. 

The high court gave lawmakers an April 30th deadline to come up with a solution. Lawmakers are currently on their annual two week break and are scheduled to return on the 26th. 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is presenting the legislature’s proposal to the high court.  His office said it is reviewing the error, but added “At first glance, it appears to be a significant issue.”

A spokesman for Governor Colyer says the Governor still plans to sign the bill and will work with the legislature to correct the error when they return.

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