Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Governor hopes school funding plan buys time from court

June 21, 2006


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius hopes a new plan to increase school funding by $541 million over three years at least buys the state time from the Kansas Supreme Court.

Sebelius acknowledged today that the plan doesn't follow all recommendations contained in a court-ordered study of education funding, issued in January by the Legislative Division of Post Audit. But she said she wants the justices to give legislators more time to correct any deficiencies.

"I'm hopeful that the court will find this a good-faith effort," Sebelius told The Associated Press today. "It clearly isn't the exact number that the Legislative Post Audit recommended. I think we are still short of dollars."

The court plans to hear arguments at 9:30 a.m. Thursday on whether the plan fulfills the Legislature's duty under the state constitution to finance a suitable education for every child. Attorneys who sued the state contend the plan still falls $985 million short of meeting schools' needs.

Sebelius said she has some policy concerns, such as how best to identify children who are at risk of failing in school, so that their districts can receive extra dollars to help them. Another issue, she said, is whether rural schools are receiving too big a share of the state's dollars - a question already before the court.

The court's hearing will be the latest development in a seven-year dispute initiated by parents and administrators in Dodge City and Salina. The court ruled last year that the state hadn't met its constitutional obligations because it spent too little money on its public schools and distributed the money unfairly.

Legislators last year increased aid by $290 million, or more than 10 percent. While the Supreme Court signed off on the Legislature's actions, it said it could order larger increases in the future, depending on what the Post Audit study said.

The study said the state needed to increase its aid for the 2006-07 term by at least $400 million for schools to meet the state's academic requirements. But legislative leaders believed that if they approved a multiyear, bipartisan plan, the justices might accept it.

Sebelius said the additional money provided schools last year and this year represents "a huge step forward for the children of Kansas."

Most legislators had wanted to avoid raising taxes to finance additional aid for schools, and the plan they approved this year relies on existing revenues. They and Sebelius hope the economy grows enough, increasing tax revenues enough, that the state won't face financial problems during the plan's third year.

"I'm hopeful that if this doesn't quite meet all the expectations, that the direction may be to come back and readdress this in years two and three," Sebelius said.


Jayhawk226 11 years, 8 months ago

I understand comparing an entire State of Kansas to the City of Chicago is impossible and foolish. But, why can a STATE not adaquately fund it's own schools???

School districs obvioulsy CANNOT and SHOULD NOT keep their hands tied because the state is too incompetent to adaquately provide them with appropriate resources.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday rolled out an ambitious plan to spend nearly $1 billion on 24 new schools, projects that will add thousands more seats for children in the city's most crowded neighborhoods.

Funding for the six-year project, which includes nine new high schools, 15 new elementary schools and the renovation of three high schools, would come from about $600 million in city money and $350 million from the Chicago Public Schools system.

The project represents an unprecedented partnership between the city and the school district, driven by the reality that the system can no longer address its construction needs without significant help from the state or city.

City funds would be drawn from special tax districts set up to foster economic development--a move skeptics fear could hurt other projects.

"We're giving back to taxpayers something real and meaningful, something they can see and touch and feel and know that their dollars are being invested carefully and appropriately for the children of our city," Daley said. "I'm not going to wait for Washington, D.C. I'm not going to wait for Springfield. Why in America do we always have to wait for another election?",1,1195703.story

Governor rolls out $10-billion school plan Illinois public schools would receive a $10-billion influx over four years under Gov. Rod Blagojevich's new education funding proposal.

However, the spending plan hinges on Blagojevich getting the legislature's approval to sell or lease the state lottery, and the proposal has met with mixed reviews.

"We have to be willing to do things differently," the governor said last week. "We have a lot of schools that do well, but we have too many schools that don't.

"This is a plan that carefully looks at what our kids need to succeed, and boldly proposes the changes needed to help them get there."

The governor's idea is to pump billions into the per-pupil funding level, school construction, and several new programs.

Roughly $6 billion over four years from the lottery proceeds and related sources would go directly into elementary and secondary education, according to the governor. Another portion would be invested to generate annual school funding.

Kansas--Think outside-the-box and invest in your future.

dizzy_from_your_spin 11 years, 8 months ago

What the govenor really meant was that she hopes the school funding issue doesn't come up again until after the election and she hopes her insiders at the supreme court will help her out in this regard.

Having to come up with a plan, any plan, just isn't what she needs before an election.

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