TOPEKA — The Republican majority on the Kansas House K-12 budget committee bundled into one bill controversial diversion of state tax dollars to private schools with an expansion in state aid for special education in public schools and a mandate half of public school budget increases tied to an inflation index be devoted to raising teacher salaries.
GOP legislators who have fought for years in the Capitol for voucher-like reform sought to entice Republican and Democratic skeptics by including a one-year $72 million surge in spending on special education. Rep. Jason Goetz, R-Dodge City, said the cash was a just reward for educators providing “amazing service” to children, including one of his own. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly had recommended five consecutive annual increases of $72 million to bring state special education expenditures into compliance with federal law.
Another sweetener via Abilene GOP Rep. Scott Hill: Provide an extra two years