Kansas study finds link between school funding, outcomes

March 31, 2018 GMT

A hand-picked consultant deliver an answer that Kansas Republican leaders didn’t want: There is a link between education spending and student outcomes.

Lori Taylor, a Texas A&M University professor, told lawmakers on Friday they need to spend another $1.7 billion over five years to reach their stated performance goals or $2 billion to reach their enhanced outcomes, according to the Kansas City Star.

“The analysis finds a strong, positive relationship between educational outcomes and educational costs,” Taylor said in her 157-page study. She also said a 1 percentage point increase in graduation rates is associated with a 1.2 percent increase in costs in lower grades and a 1.9 percent increase in costs at the high school level.

Lawmakers hoped to scrape by with a proposed increase of $600 million to meet an April 30 deadline from the Kansas Supreme Court to rewrite their school funding formula.

The report is the result of a years-long lawsuit in which several school districts sued the state for more money.

The Kansas Supreme Court in October ruled that the current formula fails the state constitution’s requirement to adequately fund education and also doesn’t distribute school dollars fairly between districts.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, left during the presentation of the study, according to the Wichita Eagle. She previously said that lawmakers were focused on finding experts who would show the court that school funding is adequate.