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Bill Would Bar State Funds for Athletic Facilities

Jason Scott

Lawmakers in Kansas are developing a bill that would give the state the ability to deny financial help to certain building projects at school districts. The legislation would create a state panel to review construction proposals, and only projects related directly to student instruction would be approved.

 

According to Wichita NPR affiliate KMUW, that would mean state money would no longer be used to finance athletic facilities.

Proponents of the bill say that athletic facilities like swimming pools should be funded by local taxpayers, not the state.

“If you want that, and your community feels you need that, then let them help pay for that,” said state Rep. Ron Highland, who offered the plan. “But as far as having the taxpayers in some other community help pay for that, I don’t think that’s fair.” 

Some lawmakers worry that the bill would create inequities between wealthier districts that can afford tax increases for state-of-the-art facilities and poorer districts that cannot. 

“Poor districts will not be able to do that, which means those students involved in those activities will be at a disadvantage,” state Rep. Ed Trimmer said.

While a final version of the legislation hasn’t been agreed upon yet, a committee continues to work on the bill this week. 

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