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Education Bill Passes the House

POSTED April 13, 2018 1:57 p.m.

RUSSELL — After the education finance bill, House Bill 2445, failed on Monday afternoon, on Tuesday, April 3, we debated the same bill. The major components of the education finance bill are to address the opinion from the Kansas Supreme Court from October 2, 2017, that the current financing for K-12 education is unconstitutional.
The major provision in HB 2445, is the increase to the base state aid for student excellence (BASE). This amount will increase to $4,006 for the 2017-2018 school year, $4,128 for 2018-2019, $4,190 for 2019-2020, $4,253 for 2020-2021, and then an estimated $4,317 in 2021-2022. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school years, the estimates for the BASE will be based from the Midwest consumer price index.
Items that will not change under the current law are virtual students, special education, and the 20-mill levy. The local option budget will be renamed the local foundation budget. With these changes, this bill adds over $500 million to K-12 education.
The House made progress this week regarding K-12 education finance, though it appears that HB 2445 has stalled in the Senate. Yesterday, the Senate passed their education bill, Senate Bill 423, which differs from our House bill.

Constitutional Amendment Change
This week, the House Judiciary committee heard testimony on House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 5029, which would change the article in the Kansas Constitution regarding education finance. There has been some ambiguity regarding the current language and what exactly does “suitable” mean. I submitted testimony with the House Taxation and Education Chairman expressing our concern with the current language. We were proponents to changing the state constitution to hopefully end the constant litigation that our state has found itself in for decades. Although we did not necessarily support the language in HCR 5029, we support the premise of new constitutional language that the people of Kansas could then vote on.

April Break, Then Veto-Session
Although we will be working through the weekend, this week marks the final week where the legislative branch debated many bills before we go on our April break. Many pieces of legislation remain that we will need to further discuss when we return on April 26 for what is referred to as Veto-Session. The state budget will be the main topic of discussion when we return. Many items have been delayed that we will discuss in more detail when we receive the new tax estimates from the Consensus Revenue Estimate (CRE) Group. They will release these new tax estimates on April 20.
On April 25, the Appropriations Committee will hold a joint meeting with the Ways and Means Committee of the Senate. We will then have a detailed explanation of the new CRE numbers, information on any budget adjustments from Governor Colyer, and those items that we decided in committee to address once we have the new CRE numbers. Some of those items include pay increases for state employees and the Judicial Branch, Transportation spending, and KPERS, just to name a few.
As always, if you have any concerns, feel free to contact me (785) 296-7672, visit www.troywaymaster.com or email me at troy.waymaster@house.ks.gov. Also, if you happen to visit the statehouse, please let my office know.
It is a distinct honor to serve as your representative for the 109th Kansas House District and the state of Kansas. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, concerns, and questions. I always appreciate hearing from the residents of the 109th House District and others from the state of Kansas, as well.

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