Gov. Kelly signs bill on school funding

Kansas governor signs law providing flexible enrollment calculations for school funding.


State News

April 23, 2024 - 2:05 PM

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly delivers her “State of the State” speech to lawmakers on Wednesday evening in Topeka. Courtesy photo

TOPEKA — Legislation altering the state’s funding formula for public school districts will bolster schools struggling with declining enrollment, the governor said as she signed the bill into law.

Gov. Laura Kelly on Friday signed Senate Bill 73, which passed 120-3 in the House and 35-4 in the Senate. Under the law, districts with declining enrollment can choose between three options to count enrollment for the 2024-2025 school year: current year enrollment, preceding year enrollment, or an average of the two preceding school years.

From the 2025-2026 school year on, districts will be required to choose between the current year and preceding year enrollment counts.

“This bill represents a crucial step in ensuring that our school funding formula supports all types of districts, from growing suburban schools to our vital rural schools,” Kelly said. “By allowing districts more flexibility when determining their enrollment count, we’re helping districts across the state better plan for the unique needs of their communities.”

Under current statute, school districts and the Kansas State Department of Education determine state aid based on enrollment counts from the previous year, or the second preceding year for districts with falling enrollment.

Districts that have rapidly expanding student enrollment typically prefer up-to-date enrollment numbers to receive new student compensation, while districts with faltering numbers benefit from the look-back window.

“Kansans can be proud of the bipartisan work by lawmakers and public education advocates who sought common ground,” said Brian Jordan, executive director for the Kansas Association of School Boards. “It’s a win for Kansas kids when school districts have a responsible path to plan effectively and efficiently. We applaud Republicans and Democrats for reaching this agreement.”