Gov. Sam Brownback to deliver his final State of the State address

Adjust Comment Print

Extra funding should be used to improve teacher salaries, expand the number of school counselors and psychologists and open opportunities for students to take college-level courses, he said. They fear they would be forced to consider raising taxes or making deep cuts elsewhere while also shorting public pensions and highway projects next year, when Brownback is out of office. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled this fall that schools are inadequately funded under the state constitution. Kansas lawmakers face a mandate from Kansas Supreme Court to boost spending on public schools this legislative session.

"I still have concerns whether on the outlying years with the increases the Governor has made through K-12 education, whether or not we're able to balance the budget", added State Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill. "Most of the legislature is aware of the problems in the system, and has the willingness to address it with additional funding".

And lawmakers have been debating whether the court would accept a law that phases in an increase in school funding over several years.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning pointed out in a committee meeting that a big chunk of the initial $200 million school spending boost had been approved by lawmakers a year ago, meaning the actual growth in funding under Brownback's plan is smaller than claimed.

The governor said he was proposing goals along with the funding because, "the people of Kansas expect results".

The secretary said $6.55 million of the added money would go toward keeping children safely with their families - and out of foster care.

Brownback must leave office in January 2019 but President Donald Trump nominated him in July as US ambassador-at-large for global religious freedom.

More news: Transgender Big Brother star: 'I'm not dead'
More news: Trump Plans to Bring Eight Cabinet Members to Davos

He gained national attention for a first-term experiment in aggressive income tax-cutting and saw his popularity wane as the state experienced persistent budget problems.

The milestone tax vote came in a legislature shaken up by a 2016 Republican primary election that booted many of Brownback's allies.

Brownback has said he'll have a school funding plan without hinting at the details. However, the Senate failed to confirm the governor before the year's end. The tax measure, coming after years of revenue shortfalls, was seen as a rejection of Brownback's plan to steadily reduce and eventually eliminate the state income tax. State tax collections have exceeded expectations each of the past seven months even though the forecasts factored in the tax increases.

Overriding Brownback's veto, the 2017 Legislature voted to raise the state income tax by $1.2 billion over two years.

Sam Brownback's nomination for an ambassador's post has been resubmitted to the U.S. Senate.

But the Senate failed to vote on Brownback's nomination by the end of past year, requiring Trump to renominate him.