School funding bill supported by Colyer passes legislature

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Dozens of teachers crowd into a third-floor wing of the Kansas Statehouse to lobby for a bill increasing funding for public schools, Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Topeka, Kan. Legislators face a Kansas Supreme Court mandate to boost education funding. (AP Photo/John Hanna)

Kansas legislators have approved an increase in spending on the state’s public schools in hopes of meeting a Kansas Supreme Court mandate on education funding.

Their rancorous final days of debate highlighted deep divisions among top Republicans.

GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer publicly endorsed a bill that would phase in a $534 million increase in education funding over five years. He sided with House GOP leaders who largely drafted it.

The Senate’s GOP leaders favored a plan to phase in a $274 million increase over the same five years. They argued that the bigger plan approved early Sunday and sent to Colyer would force lawmakers to raise taxes within two years.

The votes were 21-19 in the Senate and 63-56 in the House.

LOCAL LEGISLATOR TALLY:

Sen. Tom Hawk of Manhattan, a Democrat, voted yes. In the House, Republicans Tom Phillips of Manhattan and Susie Swanson of Clay Center voted yes.

Rep. Sydney Carlin of Manhattan, a Democrat, and Rep. Ron Highland of Wamego, a Republican, voted no.

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