Sebelius urges lawmakers to come up with school finance funding

Governor indicates special session could be called

? Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today told lawmakers to increase school funding, pay for it with expansion of gambling or face a possible special legislative session.

With a gambling bill dead in the Senate, and many lawmakers balking at larger increases for schools, the Legislature appeared deadlocked.

“Passing an inadequate school finance plan is the fastest way to guarantee another special session,” Sebelius said.

Last year, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the school finance system unconstitutional because it shortchanged all students, especially minorities. The ruling forced a special session and led to a $290 million, or 10 percent increase in school funding.

The court also told the state to do a cost study on the actual costs of education. That cost study has called for another $400 million increase.

Sebelius and legislative leaders have endorsed plans that follow the cost study’s guidelines but phase in the increase over three years.

But some lawmakers are calling for a one-year plan from between $165 million and $185 million.

Sebelius said that one-year proprosals would fall short of what the court wants.

She called on legislators to increase their efforts and try to have school finance proposals ready before they take a break in two weeks.