Gubernatorial hopefuls Sam Brownback and Tom Holland clashed on education and property taxes in their second debate Thursday.
Holland, the Democratic nominee, said Republican Brownback’s education plan, outlined in his “Roadmap for Kansas,” would raise local taxes to make up for lost state funding.
He said Brownback has talked about changing the state funding formula for schools but not said how.
“This should raise a lot of red flags,” Holland said. “What it really means is more local property taxes to fund our schools. That would be a disaster for Kansas.”
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Brownback, a US senator, retorted that Holland, a state senator, was the only one in the debate who had ever voted to raise property taxes.
He said the funding formula, created by the state in response to litigation from school districts, serves Kansas poorly.
“What we need to do is get at the funding formula itself,” Brownback said. “It’s 55 percent of the state general fund budget and of that money, about 55 to 61 percent of it actually gets to the classroom.”
“Instead of new buildings, we need to be able to fund our teachers,” he said.
Brownback and Holland squared off in their second and maybe last joint appearance Thursday in a made-for-television debate on KWCH-TV.
Also participating were two minor-party candidates, Libertarian Andrew Gray and Reform Party candidate Ken Cannon.
Gray advocated for increased school choice, while Cannon, a former school principal, said he wanted to give school superintendents more flexibility to spend money “as they see fit.”
For full coverage, see tomorrow’s Wichita Eagle.