Johnson County Told: No Money for You!

Johnson County school districts, plus a few others, are allowed to seek voter approval for increased tax rates. They’re justified on the grounds that housing costs are higher in those areas, so districts need to offer teachers more money.

That may or may not be a good idea (perhaps those districts could find some ways to free up other money in their budgets, or do something other than raise salaries to attract staff). But for some legislators, the idea that some districts can raise extra money while others can’t is not fair, and should thus be limited if not forbidden.

Districts using the provision were allowed to use up to an additional 5 percent of local tax authority. Wednesday’s change reduced that from 5 percent to 2 percent over the next three years. It was pushed by a coalition of Democrats and rural Republicans on the committee and was approved on a 10-9 vote.  . . .

Rep. Deena Horst, a Salina Republican, was the main supporter of changing the provision. She said many districts thought it was unfair because only a handful of schools can access those dollars.

Source: Panel vote on schools riles county, Kansas City Star, March 15.

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