Topeka The State Board of Education on Tuesday recommended that the Kansas Legislature “fund the law,” which would require a $471 million increase in school funding.
The school funding law is based on what the Legislature has put into state statutes before significant budget cuts were made because of a record state revenue shortfall during the national recession.
The board voted 7-1-1 for the proposed increase, which would be a nearly 14 percent increase from the current budget. The recommendation for the 2011-2012 school year will be forwarded to the governor and Legislature for consideration in the next legislative session, which starts in January.
Board member Walt Chappell, a Democrat from Wichita, was the lone dissenting vote, saying that the board needed more time to determine if there were ways it could recommend less spending. “I’m appalled that this is the way we are going to move,” Chappell said. He said the Legislature would quickly reject such a recommendation.
But other board members said that they needed to represent education interests to the Legislature.
“This is an advocacy budget, and we need to stand firm for our students and schools to fund what the law has required,” said board member Jana Shaver, a Republican from Independence.
Board member Kathy Martin, a Republican from Clay Center, abstained from voting, saying she thought there was merit to arguments on both sides of the issue. But she added, “I don’t think we can just say give us more, give us more when everyone else is getting cut.”