Senate advances school finance plan

? The Kansas Senate on Tuesday advanced a proposal to increase school funding, but it remained to be seen if the measure would gain final approval.

Several key amendments resulted in close votes, which indicated that final passage of the bill was up in the air. A final vote was expected today.

The bill, pushed by a group of Republicans and Democrats, would increase base state aid by $74 per pupil for the upcoming school year and the one after that. The current base state aid per pupil is at $3,780, which after years of budget cuts is at its lowest level in a decade.

The measure also would allow schools districts to increase property taxes for schools from 31 percent of state financial aid to 33 percent over two years.

That portion of the bill is seen as key to gain support from Johnson County legislators.

State Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, proposed an amendment to stop the local option budget increase, but that failed, 19-20.

Later, Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, tried to amend the bill to require the state to do a cost analysis of implementing national Common Core standards. That amendment failed on a 20-20 vote.