Houses passes ‘behemoth’ education bill

A bill with wide-ranging impacts to education policy and the public school budget passed the Kansas House by a narrow margin Tuesday despite bipartisan concerns over several provisions.

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April 1, 2021 - 8:30 AM

TOPEKA — A bill with wide-ranging impacts to education policy and the public school budget passed the Kansas House by a narrow margin Tuesday despite bipartisan concerns over several provisions.

House Bill 2119, the Student Empowerment Act, would take the per-pupil amount of money normally given to public schools and place it into education savings accounts for students to use toward private school tuition. The bill would also limit funding for remote learning options by providing a finance formula based on virtual school rather than in-person instruction.

A provision added in the House K-12 Budget Committee would expand the state’s school choice efforts by reimbursing organizations that grant scholarships for private schools up to $8,000 in tax credits per student per year. While only about 600 students from low-income families in poorly performing schools are currently eligible, the proposed legislation would expand eligibility greatly.

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