Kansas Gov. Colyer signs school bill fix in Olathe after $80 mil - KCTV5 News

Kansas Gov. Colyer signs school bill fix in Olathe after $80 million error

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Colyer signed the solution into law to a round of applause. (KCTV5) Colyer signed the solution into law to a round of applause. (KCTV5)
OLATHE, KS (KCTV/AP) -

An $80 million error in the half-billion dollar Kansas school funding bill was fixed on Monday. 

Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer visited the Olathe School District offices to put his new plan into action.

Colyer signed the solution into law to a round of applause.

The governor says the move ensures school districts will receive $535 million spread out over the next five years. He says it allows districts time to plan and for the state to support the move without a tax increase.

It will be up to the local school boards to make decisions on how to spend the money but Colyer says he expects Kansans will see more pay for teachers, additional teachers and the ability for schools to transform themselves.

The fix will now move to the Kansas State Supreme Court, where it will be heard on May 22. They ruled the state’s funding model un-constitutional in the summer of 2017. Colyer says he is confident in the fix.

“We would always address whatever the Supreme Court has to do. We have to deal with the rule of law in the state of Kansas, and we will. But I think legislators really put their foot forward, it’s hard, it was a lot of difficult negotiation but I think they’ve put their forward and come up with something that really moves the ball,” Colyer said.

Critiques of the move argue the half-billion-dollar increase is not enough.

“We're not over yet, this has been going on for 50 years,” Colyer said. “I'm the 10th Governor under litigation, so I'm not under any illusion that's going to end, but I think this is a way that we can start solving the problem and deal with it. It's going to take some time.”

The Kansas State Department of Education found the numbers error made by lawmakers, in April, when they went to add everything up.

The bill, approved by lawmakers, was meant to phase in the $534 million spending increase over five years, and with the flaw, the figure is $454 million or perhaps a little less.

In Kansas, local school districts impose local property taxes to supplement their state dollars. Legislators included a provision setting a minimum for local tax revenues to be raised - all districts already surpass it, anyway - and counting those dollars toward the state's total aid. Instead of allowing a mere accounting move, though, the technical language inadvertently created a calculation that replaced state dollars with local dollars.

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