Kelly: Senate plan sabotages K-12 education

Gov. Laura Kelly responded with contempt to a feeling of deja vu after the Kansas Senate voted to rely on federal COVID-19 funding rather than Kansas tax dollars to cover as much as $568 million in public education obligations in a proposed two-year state budget.

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March 19, 2021 - 10:41 AM

Gov. Laura Kelly said the budget bill passed by the Kansas Senate would inappropriately replace $570 million in state funding to K-12 education with one-time federal COVID-19 aid. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly responded with contempt to a feeling of deja vu after the Kansas Senate voted to rely on federal COVID-19 funding rather than Kansas tax dollars to cover as much as $568 million in public education obligations in a proposed two-year state budget.

The Republican-controlled Senate wants to explore opportunities to earmark COVID-19 assistance to cover the state’s obligations to Kansas for public education, but not make a final decision until May. Passage of Senate Bill 267 signaled the Senate would delay final K-12 budget decisions a couple months to seek clarity on the state’s tax revenue picture and to await guidance from the federal government on spending pandemic aid funneled into the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

“If Senate Bill 267 becomes law it would cut funding for Kansas public schools by more than half a billion dollars,” Kelly said. “The last thing Kansas needs — just as our teachers are vaccinated and our kids are returning to in-person learning — is to sabotage our education system by subverting critical COVID recovery funds.”

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