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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • New school finance plan would add money to education budget

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  • A new school finance plan came out of the Kansas Senate late this week that would put some money back into the schools. The plan would also raise the amount schools can raise through local property taxes, but the increase is not as large as first proposed.
    The first plan, one proposed by Gov. Sam Brownback which gives more local authority to raise money through taxes.
    Newton Superintendent Gary Jantz said the new plan “is a step in the right direction,” but still does not address the losses in funding schools have had in recent years.
    The new plan would raise the per-student funding by  $74, or about $340,000 for the district.
    “They are still removing the new facilities weighting. It is a step, but it would mean that we would not lose as much as we would have,” he said.
    The plan was released by Senate Education chair Jean Schodorf (R-Wichita) as the Senate prepares to take up the school finance issue.
    Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, said she had not seen the plan.
    “There are a couple out there. I am waiting to see what adjustments are made,” she said.
    She added that the state has received a little more in tax money than expected, but “depending on how much taxes we cut, that lowers your ability to fund.”
    She said she wants to work on making sure there is a good mix of taxes, balancing property, sales and income taxes.
    State Rep. Don Schroeder, R-Inman, said there may still be some other plans out there, but the Governor’s plan and the one just released, may become the main two that are used for constructing the final bill..
    Schools have lost money over the past three years as the state has cut funding because of a downturn in the economy.
    Schodorf wrote that schools have lost around $18,000 per classroom. Her plan keeps the current formula and adds $100 million over the next two years.
    She noted that there has been concern about how the governor’s plan has the burden of school finance shifting to local schools.
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