The status of the House Substitute for SB 83 remains in flux as of Thursday evening. After first failing to secure enough potential YES votes in the House, Republican leaders maneuvered to convince just enough Representatives to change their vote and support the bill that siphons public tax dollars to private and for-profit institutions that have ZERO accountability under the law. Using an accounting gimmick at the last minute, those pushing the voucher scheme included a mandate in the bill that tells districts that they have to proportion money for teacher salary increases. Calling this a “teacher raise,” while offering no additional funding to support the mandate was quickly recognized as the red-herring it is. Still, enough arms were twisted yesterday to pass by a razor-thin margin. Now the bill is in the Senate where it will likely end up in a conference committee to negotiate a final product. What appears to be a less-likely scenario, is that the Senate could simply concur with the House version and the bill would head to Governor Kelly for either her signature or her veto.
There is still much work to be done- even if the bill reaches Governor Kelly’s desk. Please engage your representatives via phone, email, and in your home district. Let them know that voucher schemes that weaken neighborhood public schools are not what’s best for Kansas students. In the meantime, we will have a full end-of-week review including updates on other key bills this weekend in Under the Dome.