School Funding – Tied to Open Enrollment – Passes Legislature

Lawmakers in Kansas approved an increase in funding for public schools, but tied the extra money to allowing parents to send their children to any school with room for them.

The measure passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature and sent to Democratic Governor Laura Kelly would boost direct state funding to local school districts by about 6%.

The $6.4 billion in funding for 2022-23 complies with past Kansas Supreme Court rulings in a lawsuit filed against the state in 2010 by school districts.

The votes were 24-14 in the Senate and 75-45 in the House.

No Democrats voted yes.

Conservative Republicans argued that the “open enrollment” provisions in the bill would give parents more options while using competition to push schools to improve.

Democratic lawmakers argued that the bill would hurt some districts as funding followed students.

They also said open enrollment benefits only students whose parents can afford to drive them to school.