Governor says school funding could dominate 2014 Legislature
Kansas governor Sam Brownback says school funding could dominate next year's legislative session in Topeka. The governor was in Wichita to speak to a luncheon for the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce.
The governor said the school funding discussion will depend on the timing of a Kansas Supreme Court decision on a school finance lawsuit filed by a number of school districts. State senate president Susan Wagle of Wichita was in the audience at the luncheon event, and she made comments incidating that lawmakers could look at changes in the judicial selection process if an unfavorable decision is handed down by the court. Wagle stated that if the court returns a decision early in 2014, the Senate will have a discussion on the role of the courts in school funding issues, and whether the courts should be appropriating money.
The governor defended his position on school funding in his comments to the Chamber audience. He said his administration has put more money into K-12 education, but federal funding has gone away. He said stimulus money from the Obama adminstration went into the base state aid per pupil, and "that federal money went away. We put more state money in, but it wasn't as much as the federal money went down." Brownback says his administration has been trying to put more money into K-12 education over time because it's critically important.
The governor also said he wants to continue to focus on job growth and growing the Kansas economy. He said if a school funding ruling is not handed down during the legislative session, he expects lawmakers to focus on a corrections budget and on funding for higher education .