In a victory for kids across Kansas, Senate Republicans passed an education funding bill that represents a new student-focused approach to education in Kansas.  The legislation’s success was the work of many working together to help our students – including Senators Molly Baumgardner and Renee Erickson, Chair and Vice Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

HB 2134, which passed 35-4, fully funds K-12 schools, dramatically expands the low-income tax-credit scholarship program, contains new accountability guardrails to ensure funding reaches at-risk students, contains a critical budget certification process to ensure public money is reaching classrooms and being spent to ensure student success, and places strict limits on the ability of school districts to require remote learning.

The expansion of the low-income tax credit scholarship program is the most significant boost to parental choice ever enacted into Kansas law. It dramatically expands the program to cover all students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches and are enrolled in kindergarten to the eighth grade, and any child receiving a scholarship may continue to do so through the 12thgrade.  The program remains capped at $10 million annually.

This student-focused legislation represents a historic shift in how Kansas approaches education.  By expanding the scholarship program and requiring districts to certify school funding is truly reaching classrooms, Republicans are sending a powerful message that the needs of students must come first.

The legislation is also a significant boost in our efforts to help at-risk students.  For years, we have been advocating for more accountability to ensure our at-risk funding reaches the students it was intended to help.  

The low-income tax credit scholarship program has already helped hundreds of Kansas kids – now it can now help tens of thousands. Republicans believe every student in Kansas should have the best opportunity at success, and this bill represents a giant leap forward towards that goal.