Kansas Lawmakers Head for OT, with Another Bad Collection Report

The Kansas Legislature had a bad da y Wednesday.
The ceremonial ending the legislature was upstaged by lawmakers’ failure to find a solution to the school finance problem; increasing the likelihood of a special session and news that the state’s shakes budget situation got worse.
May revenue estimated were $74 million dollar short of projections according the Kansas Revenue Department.
Meanwhile some lawmakers hoped to find a solution to the school finance problem.
Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court declared parts of the school finance plan unconstitutional.
Justices also renewed their threat to lock the doors of Kansas’ public schools without an acceptable solution by July 1.
July 1 is when the new fiscal year starts for Kansas schools districts.
If the court says the funding plan is unconstitutional, districts would not have the legal authority to spend tax money for the schools.
“Well, we need to be on the same page. The senate, the house and the Governor, with a clear direction,” Said St. Rep. Ron Ryckman, Jr. ,the Chairman of the legislative budget committee.
Ryckman says the House was ready to pursue a potential school fix, but Senators were unable to agree on a plan.
House Republicans considered a plan to appropriate $50 million to the state’s Department of Education.
Lawmakers think that would be enough added funding to satisfy the Supreme Court’s belief the funding plan is not equitable.
Then the state’s finance council, consisting of the Governor and legislative leaders, would allocate to the money to districts who may need it.
Some lawmakers still doubt the authority the courts have the authority to shut down the schools.
House Speaker Ray Merrick recalled a 2005 law, passed at the end if another school funding showdown.
“That law was passed by the Senate, the House, signed by the Governor. And in 2005 Kathleen Sebelius was the governor….I don’t think they (justices) have the authority,” he said.
Late Wednesday, Governor Sam Brownback issued a statement saying he would continue to work with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and the legislate to find a solution.
Brownback has not officially called a special session, yet.
Merrick says the legislature may have to wait 10 days after adjournment to return for a Special session.

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