Lawmakers pass bill responding to low Kansas school district enrollment

In the past nine months, hundreds of books across dozens of states are being banned at an alarming rate. A majority of the bans feature books written by authors who are people of color, LGBTQ+, Black and Indigenous, and feature characters from marginalized groups. (Getty Images)
In the past nine months, hundreds of books across dozens of states are being banned at an alarming rate. A majority of the bans feature books written by authors who are people of color, LGBTQ+, Black and Indigenous, and feature characters from marginalized groups. (Getty Images)
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School districts in Kansas are readjusting due to a 2022 school district law. (Getty Images)

TOPEKA — School districts with shrinking student populations have been addressed with a bill setting out state aid guidelines for the next year. 

Rep. Kristey Williams, an Augusta Republican, estimated the state has 11 school districts with fewer than 100 students enrolled. As an emergency measure, the Legislature passed a bill addressing one district expected to have eight students total enrolled in the 2024-2025 school year. 

“In this situation of extreme declining enrollment, it’s not the intent of the Kansas legislature to fund anything but those students, and so when they are contracted to go to an outside district, that district should not be able to maintain their money locally for purposes other than for students,” Williams said during April 30 bill debate

Senate Bill 339, sent to the governor after it passed 117-2 in the House and 34-3 in the Senate, will prohibit state foundation aid from being allocated to a school district with no students attending school in the district in fiscal year 2025. Students who are residents of the district but enrolled elsewhere will have to be counted in the other school district, with state foundation aid sent there. 

The move comes at the same time as a 2022 statewide open enrollment law goes into effect. Starting with the 2024-2025 school year, the law allows Kansas students to attend schools outside of their own school district as long as there’s space available.

Rep. Jarrod Ousley, a Merriam Democrat, said the issue of extremely low district enrollment would be examined again during the next legislative session.  

“We’ll come back and give a better fix to this next year,” Ousley said.

The post Lawmakers pass bill responding to low Kansas school district enrollment appeared first on Kansas Reflector.