The Schools for Fair Funding meeting was held recently in Newton regarding school finance for Kansas schools.

Fred Dierksen, Dodge City USD 443 superintendent, attended the meeting as the school district uses the funding in providing classes and career-ready programs for students.

"The good news is that we are no longer in litigation," Dierksen said in a news release. "Since the committee has achieved past goals, they have now adopted new goals. The plan is to monitor school finance issues to assure full implementation of the Gannon reforms, and preserve the adequacy and equity of the school finance formula."

According to Dierksen, 5% of the new money was added to the teacher salary chart, and several teachers were hired to lower class sizes.

Dodge City teachers who were hired were four kindergarten teachers, three first-grade teachers, one secondary math teacher and two secondary science teachers, with a plan to hire three second-grade teachers next year.

Dierksen said the Base Aid for Student Excellence for the 2018-19 school year was $4,165, with an increase of $271 per student for the 2019-20 school year bringing the total to $4,436.

For the 2020-21 school year, the projected rate is $4,569.

"If the Legislature continues to implement the funding as promised and continues to appropriate the needed amount on an annual basis, and does not mess with equity, the case will be complete," Dierksen said. "However, SFFF has retained jurisdiction so that if the need arises, they can ask the court for compliance without starting over with a new case."

To remain active in the SFFF, the expense has decreased from $5.25 per student in fiscal year 2019 to $1.10 per student in fiscal year 2020, according to the Sept. 27 meeting summary.

Dierksen said he is pleased with Gov. Laura Kelly, the Legislature and the Supreme Court’s agreement on the funding formula overall.

"Kansas public schools have benefited from the efforts of the four original plaintiffs to ensure funding for all of our students," Dierksen said. "This funding formula is vital to quality education for students in all public schools."

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