ACTION - Email Legislators to Fix the Education Funding Bill the Right Way

Action Changes ThingsAsk the Kansas Legislature to do right by schools and fix the education bill the right way! Do it today! They go back into session tomorrow!

By now you’ve heard about SB 423, the education finance bill that passed two weeks ago with an error resulting in most Kansas school districts getting less money than was intended by the bill. In total, this error reduces the amount for schools by $80 million. Some large districts, like SMSD, are slated to lose as much as $2 million, an amount described as catastrophic to schools.

Not ready to take action? Learn more about the bill below.

It undercuts efforts to fully fund schools

The bill makes the state look like it is funding education at a higher level than it is. It takes money raised by local property taxes and designates it as state-provided aid, all in an attempt to justify continued underfunding of public education.

As passed, SB 423 changes how local money is designated. Called the Local Option Budget (or LOB), this money allows districts to retain some flexibility in spending on real needs not accounted for by the State, and is raised from local district property taxes. The bill designates this LOB money in a way that lists it as aid from the state, falsely inflating the amount of money the state contributes to public education. This in turn inflates the “base state aid,” a number commonly used to compare different funding levels over the last few decades of school funding litigation. And it is due to the complicated nature of these deceptive measures that an error was introduced, and $80 million was lost.

It could get even worse

The measures introduced must be repealed, the lost funding restored, and the full funding amount as passed already by both chambers of the Legislature must be retained. Lowering the funding total is not acceptable.

The error resulting in the $80 million shortfall was unintended, but served to bring to light the nature of the changes introduced. There’s a move by some in the Kansas Legislature to “fix” the bill by just correcting the $80 million dollar “mistake,” while not repealing the false designation of local budget money. Still others, ultra-conservatives who believe education already receives too much money, may be looking to use this opportunity to lower the amount of money in the original bill. Neither is acceptable.

Thank you

Legislators are fond of repeating this line from the Kansas Constitution: All political power is inherent in the people. In the 2016 elections the people threw many education opponents out, and overwhelmingly retained Court judges who have upheld Kansans’ rights to a suitable education. We’ve had enough of their continued snapping at public education. Let’s show them what the people want. Share this information, and let’s inundate them with calls and emails.

Thank you for making a difference. It starts here.


Don't miss tonight's event!

Fix The Bill ForumThere's a forum at 6:30 pm tonight on this issue, "Fix The Bill: A School Finance Update" hosted by Education First Shawnee Mission and Indivisible KC. They will show Loud Light's latest video on the school funding crisis, and will have legislators on the panel to answer your questions. Don't miss it! Learn more and RSVP.

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