State Rep. Sue Boldra, R-Hays, is disappointed with the school funding bill passed in Topeka this weekend.
Lawmakers approved legislation adding approximately $129 million into state funding for poorer school districts — but also made policy changes that have educators up in arms. The compromise bill now awaits Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature.
Boldra said the House version of the funding bill was preferable to the amended bill that eventually passed. She voted against the measure, which was a reaction to the recent Kansas Supreme Court decision requiring additional state funding for public schools. Lumped into the appropriations portion of the bill was a measure that would eliminate due process, or tenure, for teachers.
“The House passed a clean, positive education bill on Friday evening with 91 votes that would have attempted to meet the equality issue that the Gannon court decision proposed,” Boldra said. “The first bill was solely about appropriations. But after the Senate added several policy pieces that had never come out of committee on either side, and after several meetings of the conference committee (House and Senate trying to reach a compromise), a couple of policy pieces remained.”
By Sunday night, when the compromise was passed and sent to Brownback, she said “the will of the majority waned and the will of the minority strengthened.”
Boldra echoed statements from school officials statewide, noting the positives of the funding components are solid, but the addition of the policy changes.
“The schools did win some additional funding and additional funding options,” she said. “The meat of the bill is positive, it is those ancillary policy pieces that taint the barrel of apples. Be assured, as we all know, nothing is permanent when it comes to legislation. We will have a chance to work on this again.
“I do understand that we needed to get this bill passed so that schools would know what financing tools would be available as the end of the school year draws near,” she added. “However, I must say, I am disappointed with the end result.”