TOPEKA — House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, on Tuesday announced appointments to the interim committee on school finance and said it will have wide latitude and receive input from a lot of different sources.
“No topic relating to school funding is off limits. Those areas where the state board (of education) and local school boards are responsible will be respected and their input will be requested; input from other interested parties will also be welcomed,” the statement from Merrick said.
Merrick’s appointments to the panel are: Reps. Ron Highland, R-Wamego, who is chairman of the House Education Committee; Jerry Lunn, R-Overland Park, vice chairman of education; Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Tony Barton, R-Leavenworth, and Sue Boldra, R-Hays, who are members of the education committee; Larry Campbell, R-Olathe, and Dennis Hedke, R-Wichita.
Other members of the committee will include Sens. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, chairman of the Senate Education Committee; Tom Arpke, R-Salina, vice chair; Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, the ranking minority member on education; Ty Masterson, R-Andover, chairman of Senate Ways and Means; Rep. Valdenia Winn, D-Kansas City, who is the ranking minority member on the House Education Committee; another House member appointed by House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, and two senators appointed by Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita.
The committee has been given three days to have meetings, although that could be increased. No meeting date has been scheduled yet.
The committee has been tasked with working on a school funding formula to replace the current block-grant system that is set to expire in 2017. KASB looks forward to working with the committee as a partner “to implement the best funding system to produce the best students across our diverse state.”
Merrick also announced his appointments to an interim committee that will study tax exemptions.
Appointed to that panel were Reps. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, who is chairman of the House Taxation Committee; and Ken Corbet, R-Topeka, Mark Hutton, R-Wichita, Lunn, and Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, who also are members of the House Tax Committee.