Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the $548 million increase in public school funding over the next five years is constitutionally not enough. On July 11, in a televised forum, candidates for governor debated how to address school funding and ranged in views of proposing additional funding, defying the court order, further cracking down on school spending, and reinstating draconian tax cuts. It was another sign that Republicans are at odds over whether they should continue touting tax cuts that could hurt public school spending.
Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is running for re-election, defended the $548 million increase and said, if elected, he will work to phase in more money.
Colyer’s opponents, however, disagreed. Kris Kobach, gubernatorial candidate who is also the current Kansas Secretary of State, criticized Colyer’s support for more school funding. Kobach said he would cut taxes and require school districts to spend a higher portion of their money on the classroom. Colyer noted that Kobach does not want additional money for schools and this would have a profound effect on Kansas’ schools, particularly in rural areas of the state.
Kansas’ primary will take place August 7.