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Kansas State Capitol, Topeka

Kansas legislature boosts school funding by $500 million over 5 years

The state's Supreme Court has given lawmakers until April 30 to increase spending on schools.

The Kansas Legislature has approved a $500 million increase for the state’s K-12 education system.

The Kansas City Star reports that lawmakers hope the increased funding over five years will satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court, which had ruled that state funding for schools was inadequate. The court has given the legislature until April 30 to boost funding to meet constitutional requirements.

Gov. Jeff Colyer, who assumed the job after Sam Brownback was appointed as an ambassador, has signaled his support for the spending boost.

But few seemed very happy with the bill after it passed in the early hours of Sunday morning. Conservatives in the Senate largely opposed the bill.

"This is going too deep too quick," says Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning.

Earlier in the week, the Senate had approved a plan that would add about $250 million over five years and fund additional programs. The House had passed a bill with $500 million in new funding.

During debate on Saturday, the House rejected a Democratic amendment to add an additional $186 million. Some Democrats are concerned that the plan, as passed, may not pass muster with the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s decision last year that funding is inadequate was the latest ruling in a years-long lawsuit over school funding. Lawmakers have passed several school funding bills over the past few years to address court rulings.

With the legislation passed, the Supreme Court is expected to hold oral arguments as it determines whether the plan is constitutional.

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