Your Kansas legislature is back in session this week and we’ve got a lot to do! As you likely heard, the Supreme Court announced during the break their decision on our state’s school finance formula. The block grant formula was affirmed constitutionally inadequate. The block grant system used the past two years fails to meet the MINIMUM constitutional standards for K-12 education and now we have until June 30, 2017, to develop a finance formula that will better serve all Kansas students.
As I walked into the Capitol today, school finance was at the top of my mind. I serve on the House K-12 budget committee. It’s this committee that’s been charged to examine the myriad of ideas around how best to fund our schools so our students have the best chance to succeed. My career has been spent working with the school finance formula developed in 1992 and used until 2015. I know its strengths and I know its pitfalls.
That experience is an asset I bring to the committee and I’m pleased this is an area I can offer my service. The K-12 budget committee will work to develop a formula and then send that to the entire House of Representatives to consider. Our work on this process starts today and I’m ready to do my part to make the Kansas public school system the strongest it can be.
This is a difficult task, especially in light of our budget instability. There is nearly universal agreement that in order to bring the state into compliance with our Constitution, we’ll have to put additional dollars into our public education system. With 1 in 4 Kansas students failing to achieve proficiency in basic Math and English, we have to use any additional resources to improve student outcomes.