The Kansas House has opened its debate on a proposed state budget by adding $50 million to school funding.
The House measure would spend about $14 billion in the fiscal year that starts July 1. The extra money added Tuesday for schools would raise base aid from the state by about $37 per pupil.
The Kansas Senate has already passed its own version of the budget. The Senate plan would spend some $14.4 billion and increase spending for public schools by $74 per student. This will bring funding back to the levels it was in the late 1990's.
Legislators are quickly approaching the 90-day limit of the session. Once the House approves a budget, negotiators from the two chambers will begin meeting to work out differences.
The final agreement must pass the House and Senate on Friday at the latest for the session to end on time.
On Tuesday, teachers from across USD 259, came together for a Teacher Appreciation Week banquet. Even though it was a time for celebration, the funding they'll get from the state was on the forefront of their minds.
"The cuts that they've been proposing and that they've done are really hurtful to the schools, especially to the students themselves," said Larry Smith, a history teacher at East High.
Many teachers wore pins with the number 4 on them, symbolizing the number of years it's been since they last received a raise.
"We would like the state to step in and provide the funding to schools, so we can have those raises, so we can adjust to the cost of living," said Dwight Goodman, a special education teacher at East High.