Be Careful What You Wish For

A school finance plan is emerging in the House: another $610 million for schools. It appears to be a win for the “all you need is more money” crowd:

The new plan would direct most of the new money to at-risk students who qualify for the federal free school lunch program for low-income children. It is hoped this will satisfy a Kansas Supreme Court order requiring lawmakers to increase education funding.

The new plan also mirrors many of the recommendations in a January audit of school costs initiated last year by the Legislature. That audit suggested the state needed to spend an additional $400 million on public schools.

Oddly enough, some backers of the plan object to one provision that would allow schools to get even more funding:

Rep. Ward Loyd, a Garden City Republican, said the main sticking point in negotiations with Democrats was a provision in the new plan that allows school districts to dramatically increase local levels of spending over the next two years then completely eliminates the current limit on local spending in the third year.

It’s that equality thing: if Dodge City or Wyandotte County (say), can’t raise as much money as Johnson County, then JoCo shouldn’t be allowed to increase their taxes, as wise or foolish as that may be.

We wonder how many of those same people complain about the State Board of Education trampling on the idea of “local control.”

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