Governor signs Kansas school funding bill into law, calls on Legislature to fix $80M error

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer high fives Seaman High School senior Mackenzie Moylan after signing an education funding bill on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the high school in Topeka.

TOPEKA – Gov. Jeff Colyer on Tuesday signed a school funding bill, appropriating an increase of more than $500 million in K-12 funding over the next five years, despite a multimillion-dollar flaw in the bill’s language.

At a ceremony at Seaman High School in Topeka, Colyer signed the bill that was passed by the Legislature just moments before it adjourned its regular session in early April.

“Kansas wants to lead the way in education,” Colyer said in a news release. “I’m very proud to sign this legislation as it means more money in the classroom, more accountability measures and a focus on student outcomes. Most importantly, it keeps our schools open without raising taxes on hard working Kansas families.”

Colyer also called on the Legislature to fix an accounting error that inadvertently decreased expenditures to schools by $80 million.

“It’s important that we get this right,” he said.

The Legislature will reconvene on April 26 for the start of a nine-day wrap-up session, during which time it will have to pass a final budget bill and deal with fixing the school finance bill.

The bill was intended to phase in a $534 million increase in school funding over five years, something that supporters hope will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court, which has declared current funding levels inadequate and unconstitutional.

The Kansas attorney general’s office has only until April 30 to submit briefs to the court, explaining what lawmakers have done to comply with the court’s order to pass a constitutional funding system.

A lawyer for the school districts that sued the state said the bill doesn’t do enough to address that problem.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.