Archive for Thursday, January 5, 2006

Governor says she’ll seek multiyear school funding plan

January 5, 2006

— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has provided a glimpse of her educational funding plans for the 2006 legislative session.

In an interview last week with the Lawrence Journal-World, Sebelius said her proposed budget would provide an additional $75 million to public school funding.

"There is already not only $300 million in ongoing investment from last year, but there is new money built into the budget," Sebelius said.

She said she looked forward to a much-anticipated school cost study, which is due to be released Friday, Jan. 6, and then working with lawmakers to come up with a multiyear school funding plan.

"There will be an effort, once that study comes out, to work with the Legislature and figure out a strategy," she said. "I've always believed and continue to believe we need a multiyear strategy on investment in education."

The legislative session starts Jan. 9.

Last year, the Kansas Supreme Court found the school finance system unconstitutional and ordered lawmakers to increase funding to public schools.

After a bruising special session, the Legislature added $290 million to schools and commissioned the cost study that is supposed to guide policymakers on how much is needed to provide a suitable education for every public school student.

Without providing any details, Sebelius also said initiatives would be rolled out to improve early education so that youngsters are better prepared for school, and improve wellness programs "focusing on how we get, particularly our kids, off the couch."

Sebelius said young people needed to be aware of the dangers of lack of exercise in much the same manner that older generations were taught about the dangers of smoking cigarettes.

"We have to do that same thing with health and fitness, I'm absolutely convinced, or we are going to end up with not only a generation of hugely overweight people, but all the chronic diseases and all the costs associated with that," she said.

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