Archive for Monday, February 23, 2004

House gives tentative approval to school finance appeal bill

February 23, 2004


— The Kansas House gave preliminary approval today to a bill that Republicans said will speed up an appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court of the school finance lawsuit.

Democrats said the legislation was a stalling tactic to avoid working on school finance issues during the current legislative session.

"This bill is an excuse to not do anything about education funding this year," state Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said.

But state Rep. Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said the measure would give the Legislature guidance on school finance from the state's highest appellate court.

The dispute is over a lower court ruling that said Kansas' method of financing public schools was unconstitutional. In the decision, State District Court Judge Terry Bullock of Topeka said the state was under-funding schools, and the method of finance discriminated against minority students.

He issued a preliminary court order, giving the Legislature until July 1 to fix the system.

But Republican legislative leaders formed a bill that would allow the preliminary order to be appealed. The bill -- SB 324 -- has already been approved by the Senate.

The measure was advanced today in the House on a voice vote and will face a final vote Tuesday. If approved Tuesday, the legislation will go to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius who has said she will sign it into law.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Journal-World.

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