School funding again a key issue as lawmakers reconvene in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. A new legislative session in Topeka comes with some of the same issues that could impact your child's education.

What's next in school funding is already on the minds of lawmakers as the 2018 session begins.

Besides education, healthcare, the state economy and corrections are key topics lawmakers are discussing as we kick off the 2018 legislative session. But none of these topics are getting quite as much attention as education, which dominates the conversation on both sides of the aisle, in both the House and Senate.

The education issue remains at the forefront for lawmakers after the latest ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court says the state is not meeting its constitutional obligation to adequately fund schools.

"Our state is only great because we educate our children well," says Rep. Jim Ward (D) Wichita. "We need to make sure every child can pursue their God-given talents and that we give teachers what they need to teach."

Rep. Chuck Weber (R) Wichita says the state has put in enough to meet schools' needs.

"I personally feel that the $500 million in new money that we allocated last year, over a two-year period, is enough money for our schools," he says.

Sen. Susan Wagle (R) Wichita says the Supreme Court is demanding more for education than the state can afford right now. She says with education being the most pressing concern, she hopes legislators can find a funding solution this session, bringing in out-of-state school funding experts to take a look at the situation in Kansas.

"We're asking (funding experts) to look at our formula and look at how much money we're putting in and see how much they think is adequate to finance and improve student outcomes," she says.

Sen. Lynn Rogers (D) Wichita says the budge is another crucial subject in need of attention.

"Financial recovery as a state -- that includes schools and all of our state agencies, so they can deliver the service they're constitutionally required to do," he says.

With many issues facing legislators, Wagle says the 2018 session is likely to be a long one. She says this is especially the case, in part, because lawmakers will have to wait on expert opinions before taking action on education.

In its latest ruling on school funding, the Kansas Supreme Court gave lawmakers until April 30 to find a fix.