Apr 06, 2021 7:00 PM

Tallman: School funding still bears watching in conference committees

Posted Apr 06, 2021 7:00 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — As the Kansas Legislature battles through the conference committee process this week, it's important to remember that all the money promised by the legislature to resolve the Gannon school funding case is not in the classroom yet.

"The court kept jurisdiction, because it was a phase in, we have not reached the end of that," said Mark Tallman with the Kansas Association of School Boards. "One of the things that the Senate plan has talked about is trying to use federal money. They're basically saying, well, we're not going to cut, but, we're going to see whether we can use federal money. There are a lot of issues around that and one of those, of course, is whether the court would find that acceptable, if, indeed there was a thought that federal regulations would allow it."

The Kansas Department of Education doesn't think regulations would allow it. Also, it doesn't solve the long-term problem.

"I think the concern hanging over all of us is not wanting to get us put back into litigation and a constitutional showdown between the Legislature that says we don't want to keep putting in the money that we promised and a court that's saying, well, that's what you agreed to do to solve this."

One time money is generally frowned upon as a school funding solution regardless of its source, because schools want budget certainty.