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Archive for Friday, November 20, 2009

Statehouse Live: Committee seeks to stop education cuts

November 20, 2009, 10:36 a.m. Updated November 20, 2009, 10:36 a.m.

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— A legislative committee on Friday recommended the state not seek federal permission to cut education funding below 2006 budgetary levels.

The move represents a pre-emptive strike in the coming budget battle when the legislative session starts in January.

Kansas has accepted hundreds of millions of dolllars in federal stimulus funds to shore up the budgets of public schools and higher education. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires states that use those federal funds to keep education funding above 2006 levels.

States can seek a waiver to cut below those levels, but the Legislative Education Planning Committee on Friday voted to recommend that the funding to public schools and higher education not be cut below 2006 levels, and that Gov. Mark Parkinson not seek a waiver of the federal rule.

Several committee members opposed the recommendation, saying if enacted it would reduce the Legislature’s ability to confront the current budget crisis.

But proponents of the recommendation said education has already been cut too much and public school funding is a state constitutional responsibility.

Because of previous budget cuts this year, both the higher education and public school budgets are approximately 1 percent above the 2006 levels.

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