Topeka A $326 million budget-balancing plan won final legislative approval Thursday, bringing Kansas closer to joining other states in trimming education funding to deal with recession-related financial problems.
The House passed the bill Thursday morning on a 70-51 vote. The Senate approved it seven hours later, 27-11, sending the measure to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who has tried to avoid cutting aid to public schools.
The bill eliminates a projected $199 million deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30. Slightly less than half the adjustments consist of cuts in spending, with accounting changes and refinancing of state bonds making up the rest.
Public schools would lose almost $28 million in base state aid plus more than $4 million in funds for special education programs. Those reductions were endorsed by the House, but senators wanted to reduce base aid by less than $7 million and leave the special education funds unchanged.
Republicans hold majorities in both chambers, and their leaders said the cuts in school aid were necessary to avoid deeper cuts elsewhere, including public safety and social services. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Kevin Yoder said the plan that emerged from talks between the two chambers contained “a proper mix of cuts.”