School Finance—Recent Legislative Changes

The 2015 through 2020 Legislatures passed major changes to school finance.


In House Sub. for SB 7, the 2015 Legislature created the Classroom Learning Assuring Student Success (CLASS) Act and repealed the School District Finance and Quality Performance Act (SDFQPA), which was passed in 1992. The CLASS Act provided funding for each school district for school years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 via block grants.


The 2016 Legislature, in both its regular session and its special session, passed school finance legislation. In its special session, the Legislature passed Senate Sub. for HB 2001, which altered and amended legislation passed by the 2016 Legislature. Senate Sub. for HB 2001 included the following:

Reinstated the Supplemental General State Aid and Capital Outlay State Aid formulas in effect prior to the enactment of the CLASS Act for fiscal year (FY) 2017, which the 2016 Legislature fully funded;
Reduced the amount of funding school districts were entitled to receive under the block grant for full-time virtual school students for FY 2017 from $5,600 to $5,000; and
Directed the State Board of Education (State Board) to review applications for funds from the Extraordinary Need Fund (ENF).

Additionally, Senate Sub. for HB 2001 set expenditure limits on the ENF at $13.0 million and provided that no moneys could be expended from the ENF in FY 2017 until the sale or merger of the Kansas Bioscience Authority was complete. The legislation directed the first $25.0 million in proceeds from the sale or merger to be deposited in the State General Fund. If the remaining proceeds were less than $13.0 million, the amount of money appropriated to the ENF was to be reduced by the amount of the shortfall.


The 2017 Legislature passed the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act, which reinstituted a weighted enrollment formula similar to the SDFQPA. Weightings include at-risk students, declining enrollment, high-density at-risk students, bilingual students, low enrollment, high enrollment, new school facilities, ancillary school facilities, cost-of-living, career technical education, and transportation.

The weighted enrollment of a school district is once again multiplied by a coefficient to determine the aid the district receives in its general fund. This multiplier—formerly known as base state aid per pupil—is now referred to as base aid for student excellence (BASE).


In House Sub. for SB 423, the 2018 Legislature increased the BASE over a five-year period to arrive at an amount of $4,713 by school year 2022-2023 and created the Mental Health Intervention Team Pilot Program. House Sub. for SB 423 also made changes to weightings associated with transportation, at-risk students, career and technical education, and bilingual students. Finally, the legislation added aid for special education, early childhood education, and college and career entry exams.


In House Sub. for SB 16, the 2019 Legislature further increased the BASE over a four-year period to arrive at an amount of $4,846 by school year 2022-2023. House Sub. for SB 16 also made changes to various school accountability, auditing, and reporting provisions. Finally, the legislation requires the State Board to identify and approve evidence-based at-risk programs.


In SB 66, the 2020 Legislature extended through FY 2022 the high-density at-risk student weighting, which was set to end on July 1, 2020.

Norma Volkmer, Fiscal Analyst

Jessa Farmer, Research Analyst