Kansas Legislature Still Working To Bridge Financial Gaps


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Republican legislators in Topeka blocked an attempt on Tuesday to nearly double the size of a plan to increase state spending on public schools which currently is at $4 billion per year.

The Senate was debating a plan yesterday to phase in an increase of roughly $230 million over two years in response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in March that education funding is inadequate at its current $4 billion level.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley proposed phasing in a $420 million increase over two years. The Topeka Democrat argued that the smaller plan would not satisfy the court.

The Senate went on to vote 23-16 against Hensley’s amendment to the bill, and it was noted that the supreme court did not indicate how large the increase in education funding needs to be to satisfy their ruling made earlier this year.

Since that vote yesterday, legislators are moving closer to approving a plan to increase state spending on public schools even as an agreement continues to elude them on raising taxes.

The Senate gave first-round approval, in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, to a bill phasing in an increase of education funding totaling roughly $230 million over two years. Senators plan to take final-action later in the day.

The House of Representatives has its own plan to phase in a $285 million increase over two years.

Outside of school funding, Kansas still faces projected budget shortfalls now totaling $887 million through June 2019. That number could rise or fall marginally when the state’s revenue report for May comes out next week.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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