Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation Wednesday that will replace the state’s K-12 education funding formula. The legislation replaces the current formula with a two-year plan that funds schools throughout the state with block grants.
The plan, which drew criticism from educators across the state, was rolled out as a temporary measure. The legislation included a two-year sunset provision, giving the Legislature time to devise a new funding system.
While the measure has drawn criticism, Brownback was quick to note in a statement released Wednesday, education funding in total will increase through the tempory block grants.
“For the first time ever, we will spend more than $4 billion to support K12 education in Kansas,” Brownback said. “At the same time we are providing those closest to the classroom — teachers and parents — direct control over the future of education by getting money into the classroom to immediately benefit Kansas students.”
Information in Brownback’s statement detailed exactly how much money would be increased during the temporary measure.
“In the 2014-2015 school year, funding was approximately $3.98 billion. For school year 2015-2016 that increases to $4.09 billion, increasing to $4.16 billion in school year 2016-2017,” he said.
The legislation was signed in a private ceremony with pictures of the event being posted to Facebook. Many opponents of the measure went to social media to lampoon Brownback’s plan.
Despite the negative press that Brownback has encountered over school funding recently, he was grateful for the support of the Legislature.
“I want to thank the legislature for restoring the previous allotments through this block grant, as I requested,” Brownback said. “I further thank the legislature for its efforts in passing this critical first step in developing a new formula that recognizes the high quality of Kansas schools and provides a stable source of funding that makes them great for generations of Kansas students to come. Together we will build on our past success and not jeopardize funding because of flaws in the previous formula.”
“I look forward to working with the legislature to develop an education funding plan that not only provides more money to the classroom but is sustainable, stable and predictable,” he said.