‘Kansas needs this money’: Lawmakers and educators react to public school funding bill

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Local lawmakers are breaking down the Kansas Public School Funding bill that was signed by Governor Laura Kelly on Saturday and teachers say it’s a relief to know students and educators across the state will benefit from it.

“I love me my teachers,” said Governor Laura Kelly.

That love was evident as Kelly signed the Education Funding Bill that focuses on several key provisions for students and educators.

“One, it keeps the promises we made in 2017 and 2018 for base funding,” said Representative Jim Ward, D-Wichita. “Two, it adds about $90 million to the formula to pay for inflation for the years we weren’t meeting our expectations. Three, it protects special education.”

Teachers will also benefit from the bill. Lawmakers said the cycle of salary increase will continue for educators in Kansas. 

“When we made promises in 2017 and 2019 and kept them, you saw teacher salaries go up for the last two years,” said Rep. Ward. “I would expect another year of teacher salary increase.”

The last hurdle for lawmakers is taking the bill to court. 

Educators are excited and hopeful.

“To finally have a bill equitably and constitutionally funds our kids regardless of what area code they live in,” said Christine Stuges-Brown, teacher. 

“We won’t lose educators to Oklahoma,” said Mark Farr, vice president of the Kansas National Education Association. “We won’t lose educators to Nebraska. We’ll be able to attract and retain better teachers here in Kansas.”

Representative Ward said the outcome of the bill in court will come in about four to six weeks.

Ward said if it passes that muster, students and educators could see the benefits from the bill as soon as the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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