K-12 education in Kansas funded until 2028 with Gov.’s signature on legislation

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 1:31 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - With Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s signature on new legislation, K-12 education in the Sunflower State is set to be completely funded until 2028.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced on Thursday, May 18, that she has signed and line-item vetoed parts of House Substitute for Senate Bill 113 which contains the K-12 education budget.

With her line-item vetoes, Gov. Kelly said the bill completely funds K-12 education for the next five years and will protect funds for rural schools that face a drop in enrollment.

“Today, I am keeping my commitment to Kansas families by fully funding our public schools for the fifth year in a row,” Kelly said. “What’s more, I am proud to stand up for rural schools, the heart and economic engines of communities throughout the state, by rejecting efforts to cut the funding needed to keep them open and continuing to serve Kansas students.”

In addition to school funding, Kelly noted that the version she signed improves school safety, empowers parent involvement in education, supports the workforce, invests in early childhood education and gives students skills needed for a modern economy.

The legislation includes $5 million so schools can buy communication equipment to better coordinate with law enforcement, as well as naloxone to fight fentanyl poisoning. It also includes $9.4 million for Parents as Teachers, a program that provides parents with knowledge about child health and development and connects them to community-based services to help with education.

According to the Governor, $1.8 million is earmarked in the bill to support teacher professional development while another $1.3 million is set aside for a program to provide teachers early in their careers with mentors to support professional growth. It also includes $23.7 million for the Children’s Initiative Fund for the Early Childhood Block Grant and $4.2 million for a Pre-K pilot program. About $1.4 million has been earmarked for IT and data management while $1.5 million will expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Lastly, the bill would include $1.5 million to take students to and from career and technical education opportunities, $1 million for computer science education and $40,000 for a pilot program to expand how students receive career and tech school credentials.

While the bill includes $7.5 million more for special education, Kelly said it does not include the $72 million she called for throughout the legislative session to put the state on the path to completely funding it.

“Republicans and Democrats agree we must put Kansas on track to fully fund special education, something that would impact each and every student. When legislators return in 2024, they must correct their mistake and fulfill my plan to increase investments in special education,” Kelly noted.

Critically, the Governor said she also line-item vetoed appropriations in the bill that would have changed the school finance formula to decide the amount of funds received by public schools from the state each year. She said the provision would have risked compliance with constitutional funding requirements and could have resulted in rural schools losing service.

Kelly indicated that the legislative debate on the bill recognized it contains items of appropriations of money, and she has the power to line-item veto such provisions.

“The Legislative K-12 Education budget is an overall win for Kansas students and their education with a record amount of funding to K-12 public schools, full constitutional special education funding, and an expansion to a scholarship program for low-income students,” said Senate President Ty Masterson and House Speaker Dan Hawkins. “We are extremely concerned, however, that with the Kelly/Toland administration’s decision to line-item veto policy provisions within SB 113, the administration exceeded their authority under the Kansas Constitution, which limits line-item vetoes to items of appropriations. We strongly encourage the Attorney General to immediately review this unconstitutional overreach.”

For more information about line-item vetoes in the bill, click HERE.