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Archive for Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Sebelius says more than $100 million needed for schools

April 20, 2004

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius made it clear Tuesday that she still expects legislators to increase aid to public schools this year by more than $100 million.

Sebelius said proposals to provide an additional $80 million or $90 million would represent "a reasonable place" to start discussions but added, "It's probably not where we're going to end up."

The governor said during a brief news conference that providing new dollars to all school districts while expanding bilingual education and programs for children at-risk of failing will require a substantial boost in the state's $2.6 billion in aid to elementary and secondary schools.

Sebelius, who proposed a plan to phase in a $304 million spending increase over three years, favors a House-passed proposal to raise sales and income taxes to provide an additional $155 million in state aid to schools during the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The Democratic governor's position may put her add odds with Republican legislative leaders. Earlier this month, House Speaker Doug Mays, R-Topeka, said he expects the Legislature to pass a school finance plan worth between $40 million and $80 million.

At the time, Mays said, "I don't ever see us going to $100 million."

The Senate did not approve any education plan before the Legislature began its annual spring recess on April 2. Lawmakers are scheduled to reconvene April 28 to wrap up their business for the year.

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