Topeka Kansas could receive approximately $179 million to preserve teacher jobs and help pay for health care for the needy under passage of a $26 billion state aid bill Tuesday by Congress.
“With this assistance finally on its way to the president, we avoid laying off thousands of teachers, increasing class sizes and damaging our children’s quality education,” Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson said.
“We also keep our state budget in balance by filling the gap that was dependent on” increased federal dollars for Medicaid, he said.
Approximately $92 million of the $179 million for Kansas will go toward preserving education jobs and the remaining $87 million will go to help fund Medicaid.
House Democrats pushed the legislation through during a one-day session after it was approved last week by the Senate. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law immediately.
Parkinson, a Democrat, had been among a bipartisan group of governors that lobbied Congress to approve the additional aid to states.
Because of the recession, many states faced unprecedented budget shortfalls, including Kansas.
In a letter to the Kansas congressional delegation, Parkinson said that without passage of the bill “thousands of jobs will be lost through additional teacher layoffs, our communities will be less safe and many vulnerable Kansans will lose critical services they need to live healthy and productive lives.”
But almost all Republicans opposed the bill, including U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas who is running for governor. Brownback, who voted against the bill last week, said the assistance should have been paid for with existing federal stimulus funds.