The Latest: Wichita, KCK say they haven’t accepted aid plan


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on the Kansas Legislature’s debate on school funding (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

Officials from the Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas, school districts say they have not signed off on Republican legislators’ education funding plan.

Wichita Superintendent John Allison said Thursday that his district needs to review the details of the $38 million plan. He was at the Statehouse as lawmakers opened a special session on education funding.

Kansas City district spokesman David Smith said, “We’ve not signed off on anything at this point.”

The chairmen of the House and Senate budget committees said the districts signed off. The Wichita and Kansas City districts are among four suing the state.

The state Supreme Court ruled last month that the education funding system remains unfair to poor school districts and warned that schools might not be able to reopen after June 30 without changes.

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8:50 a.m.

Republican legislators have unveiled the details of their $38 million plan for helping poor school districts and satisfying a recent state Supreme Court ruling on education funding.

The House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees introduced separate but identical versions during short meetings Thursday at the start of a special session.

The committees were having hearings on the plan immediately.

The plan helps pay for extra aid to poor school districts by diverting $24 million in existing education funds from districts’ general operating funds, dollars for online courses and money set aside for student enrollment increases or other emergency needs.

Other funds for relatively poor school districts would be diverted from other parts of the state budget.

The plan also would redistribute funds from wealthier school districts to poorer ones.

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8:05 a.m.

Kansas legislators have opened a special session to address a state Supreme Court mandate on education funding and avert a threat that public schools might not reopen next month.

Lawmakers returned Thursday to the Statehouse following negotiations by key Republicans with superintendents from various districts on a $38 million plan for increasing aid to poor school districts.

With the state facing a budget crunch, they were looking at proposals to redistribute existing education dollars. They also hoped to lessen resistance from wealthy districts likely to lose aid, particularly in affluent Kansas City suburbs in Johnson County.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that the state’s education funding system remains unfair to poor districts and warned that schools might not reopen after June 30 if lawmakers don’t make further changes by then.

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12:05 a.m.

Kansas legislators are convening a special session to address a state Supreme Court mandate on education funding and avert a threat that public schools might not reopen next month.

Lawmakers returned to the Statehouse after key Republicans negotiated with superintendents from various districts on a $38 million plan for increasing aid to poor school districts.

With the state facing a budget crunch, they were looking at proposals to redistribute existing education dollars. They also hoped to lessen resistance from wealthy districts likely to lose aid, particularly in affluent Kansas City suburbs in Johnson County.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that the state’s education funding system remains unfair to poor districts and warned that schools might not reopen after June 30 if lawmakers don’t make further changes by then.

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