Governor Kelly Fully Funds Schools for the Fifth Year in a Row, Protects Rural Schools
~~Governor Signs K-12 Budget Bill, Line-Item Vetoes Provisions Stripping Funding from Rural Schools~~
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that she has signed and line-item vetoed aspects of House Substitute for Senate Bill 113, the bill containing the budget for K-12 education. With her line-item vetoes, the bill fully funds K-12 education for the fifth consecutive year and protects funding for rural schools facing declining enrollment.
“Today, I am keeping my commitment to Kansas families by fully funding our public schools for the fifth year in a row,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “What’s more, I am proud to stand up for rural schools, the heart and economic engines of communities throughout the state, by rejecting efforts to cut the funding needed to keep them open and continuing to serve Kansas students.”
In addition to funding schools in accordance with the state constitution, the version of SB 113 Governor Kelly signed also:
- Improves School Safety: The bill includes $5 million so schools can purchase communication equipment to better coordinate with law enforcement and purchase naloxone to combat fentanyl poisoning, something Governor Kelly called for in her 2023 State of the State address.
- Empowers Parents to Be Involved in their Children’s Education: The bill includes $9.4 million for Parents as Teachers, a program that provides parents with skills and knowledge about child health and development and connects them to community-based services to assist with their child’s education.
- Supports the Teacher Workforce: The bill includes $1.8 million to support teacher professional development and $1.3 million for a program that provides teachers early in their careers with mentors to support their professional growth.
- Invests in Early Childhood Education and Literacy: The bill includes $23.7 million from the Children’s Initiative Fund for the Early Childhood Block Grant to support children’s programs with a focus on early childhood, health, mental health, and child welfare. It includes $4.2 million for a Pre-K Pilot Program to explore ways more Kansas schools can prepare children for kindergarten, as well as $1.4 million for IT and data management in the early childhood space. It also includes $1.5 million to expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a program that gifts books to children from birth to five years old for free.
- Gives Students the Technical Skills for a Modern Economy: The bill includes $1.5 million to transport students to career and technical education opportunities, $1 million to ensure more students learn computer science, and $40,000 for a pilot program expanding the ways students can receive career and technical education credentials.
While SB 113 includes a $7.5 million increase in funding for special education, it does not include the $72 million Governor Kelly has called for throughout the legislative session to put Kansas on the path to fully fund special education.
“Republicans and Democrats agree we must put Kansas on track to fully fund special education, something that would impact each and every student. When legislators return in 2024, they must correct their mistake and fulfill my plan to increase investments in special education,” said Governor Kelly.
Critically, Governor Kelly line-item vetoed appropriations in SB 113 that would have changed the school finance formula that determines the amount of funding annually appropriated by the state to public schools. The provision would have risked the state’s compliance with constitutional funding requirements and could have resulted in rural schools having to cut services or close buildings. The legislative debate on SB 113 recognized this bill contains items of appropriations of money, and the Governor has the constitutional power to line-item veto such appropriations.
Find Governor Kelly’s full message to the Legislature and more information about her line-item vetoes here.