Legislators, educators and politicians are hitting the books to find new ways to pay for Kansas schools amid a backdrop of election year politics.


Legislators, educators and politicians are hitting the books to find new ways to pay for Kansas schools amid a backdrop of election year politics.

Court battles over the past two decades have forced changes in how the state's 293 school districts are funded. This year, with voters poised to pick their next governor in November, there are a flurry of new ideas for how to keep the school system going at the same level despite dwindling state resources.

Rep. Clay Aurand, a Courtland Republican who chairs the Select Committee on Education, says he doesn't think there will be wholesale changes. Still, with a new governor taking office in 2011, Aurand agrees it's a good time to put forward some new ideas and expects at least a few minor changes will gain traction next session.

"I think it has to be a multiyear process," Aurand said Wednesday. "We're more likely to tweak the formula that we have."

The committee heard two proposals this week, both of which would make significant changes to public education.

One would shift the share of funding schools to local districts through property taxes. The plan is similar to one introduced by House GOP leaders during the 2010 session.