Testimony opposing HB 2410, a school finance bill

This is MainStream's written testimony opposing HB 2410, a bill to finance public schools that does not meet our requirements to fun an excellent education for all Kansas children. We also delivered oral testimony at the hearing today. You can download a copy of our testimony here.

Testimony to House Committee on K-12 Education Budget
Chair, Rep. Larry Campbell
Hearings: March 23-24, 2017

Position – OPPOSE HB 2410

Chairman Campbell, and Members of the Committee, 

The MainStream Coalition opposes passage of HB 2410 for several of the provisions it contains, but also because it does not address the rights of all Kansas children to an equitable and adequate education. A better bill can be crafted.

Specifically, the bill as written includes numerous avenues for school districts to enhance their funding levels through locally-raised money that is not overseen by the state. This caters to wealthier districts that can raise these funds, and will continue the unconstitutional inequity the Courts have already ruled against. We believe any school funding plan must level the field for ALL Kansas schoolchildren.

In addition, we have consistently opposed funneling public tax dollars to private schools, and this bill once again introduces enhancements to the tax credit scholarship act. The Kansas Constitution proscribes the control by any religious organization of public education funds. These efforts are fundamentally misguided and do not serve the interests of our state, our schools, or our students. 

While we have long supported the idea that a problem as complex as public school funding for a state as large and diverse as Kansas requires a plan that is equally comprehensive, the rapid nature of this bill’s preparation and presentation has made it difficult to access, and left stakeholders without time to analyze and prepare alternatives. We urge you to withdraw this bill and continue to work with stakeholders to develop a true funding solution that will make Kansas the model to follow. 

Thank you for your attention,

Brandi Fisher,
Executive Director, MainStream Coalition

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