Opinion Columns & Blogs

School funding numbers are ‘shocking’

Kansas created a statewide school funding system in 1992, establishing a base state aid amount of $3,600 per pupil. If funding would have increased at a rate equal to the Consumer Price Index, base aid would have totaled $6,001 in 2013, Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis told the Hutchinson Rotary Club last week. Instead, current base aid is $3,852. “The numbers are shocking, shocking,” Dennis said – though it is important to factor in that base aid is not the only funding that schools receive, and some of the additional aid, such as for at-risk students, has increased significantly over the years. A new school finance bill in the House would raise next year’s base funding to $4,006 per pupil, then would raise it by $200 a year for the following four years (a $750 million total increase). Would that be enough to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court and meet the state’s constitutional requirement to adequately fund K-12 education? It seems unlikely. – Phillip Brownlee