Kansas school districts are digesting a sweeping school finance plan proposed today by Governor Sam Brownback.
He promises no district will lose state funds via the proposal, which is designed to give local boards a freer hand in spending. It would also allow districts to raise property taxes.
The property tax cap, set by state law, would be removed under the Brownback plan, which would go into effect in July 2013. President of the Shawnee Mission School Board Craig Denny was struck by that and another provision.
“The governor’s new finance formula funds all-day kindergarten," Denny said. "It treats kindergartners as full-time students. The current formula does not. So that’s, I think, very encouraging.”
Since Shawnee Mission doesn’t get funding for full-time kindergarten, many parents pay for it.
The Governor's administration had earlier proposed allowing counties to increase sales taxes for schools. That was dropped from the new plan.
The Governor’s plan would end the practice of tying some districts’ spending power to the number of pupils at risk of failing or who don’t speak English well. Brownback called the current formula "broken." It was last revised in 2006, governing finances for Kansas' 286 school districts.