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GOP hoping press, public forget school reform plan

An internal Kansas House Republican memo about a school finance reform proposal by Speaker Pro Tem Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, urged GOP candidates to "lie low" and "hope this blows over in the press," the Lawrence Journal-World reported. Siegfreid proposed a school funding plan that would increase reliance on local property taxes and eliminate pupil weightings. Though the plan has some similarities to a budget proposal last session by GOP leadership and statements made by GOP gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback, the memo by Peter Freund, the chief of staff to House Majority Leader Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, urged GOP candidates to "distance themselves as far as possible" from Siegfreid's plan. The memo noted that Brownback already had disavowed the plan. It added that, "with any luck," come voting time "the public will only remember a vague headline about Brownback."