The Kansas House of Representatives voted today on the FY 2010 budget bill.  The proposal, approved at a vote of 70-54, cuts Kansas public schools by $25 million and ignores the needs facing institutions of higher education. Because these are Kansas’ most important investments, House Democrats stood in opposition to the bill.

“The education cuts included in this budget are unnecessary,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis, Lawrence.  “This budget fails to account for at least $50 million of gaming revenues in FY 2010.  These funds clearly allow us to maintain our current funding level of $4,400 in base state aid per pupil funding.”

“The over $25 million in K12 school funding cuts will fall disproportionately on rural school districts that rely more heavily on state funding,” said Rep. Tom Sawyer, D-Wichita.  “Many school districts, like Haviland (who convened just last Sunday in a special board meeting to determine whether or not to keep their high school open or close the school and bus the kids to Greensburg), will be faced with very difficult choices about what personnel and programs they will cut.”

House Democrats remain committed to developing a responsible state budget that reflects the priorities and values of Kansas communities. 

We know our investment in Kansas schools is paying off- we have seen it in higher test scores and better performing students.  Reneging on our commitment now is highly irresponsible,” said Davis. 

The ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Bill Feuerborn, Garnett, proposed an amendment to restore K12 education funding to the FY 2008 level.  The amendment was rejected at a near party-line vote of 58-62. 

“This budget shortchanges public schoolchildren and Kansans working to better themselves by going to college,” said Feuerborn.  “By cutting education and possibly jeopardizing our opportunity to receive aid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, House Bill 2373 harms the very Kansans who need our help most in this difficult economic time.”

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