Fred in the News

Lawmakers confident court will OK school funding. What happens if they’re wrong?
7 May 2018 at 12:57pm

Four times during the past three years, the Kansas Supreme Court has found problems with how public schools are funded. Top lawmakers and officials think they have it right this time. But school districts suing over funding say schools eventually need $1.7 billion to $2 billion more. Rep. Fred Patton, a key Republican lawmaker on school funding, said he was pretty confident and that lawmakers approved a good formula. "We did our math, we showed our work," he said.

House passes school funding fix; blocks efforts to add more money
28 Apr 2018 at 12:51pm

The Kansas House passed another school finance bill Saturday that fixes a technical problem in the original bill the Legislature passed on April 7, but only after beating back efforts by Democrats to add significant amounts of new money to the plan. “I think it was important to live up to what the deal was that we passed on April 7, and I’m glad that we were able to do that,” said Rep. Fred Patton, R-Topeka, who chairs the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, in an interview after the final vote Saturday.

Kansas House adopts bill correcting miscue in new $525M school-finance law
28 Apr 2018 at 12:49pm

The House tweaked a newly minted school-finance law Saturday rather than approve a cluster of proposals expanding the new five-year, $525 million plan answering Kansas Supreme Court rulings that state aid to public education was constitutionally unsuitable. Rep. Fred Patton, R-Topeka, said the House bill no longer included a controversial provision championed by conservatives stipulating that revenue from the minimum LOB be used to artificially raise average state aid per pupil by about $500 in a bid to impress the Supreme Court. Patton said deletion from Senate Bill 61 of the LOB account...

How do you fix an $80 million error? Kansas lawmakers are divided
27 Apr 2018 at 12:47pm

When Kansas lawmakers discovered an $80 million error in a major school funding bill after leaving on a break, many vowed to correct the problem when they returned. Well, they're back, but are divided over how to fix the problem. Rep. Fred Patton, R-Topeka, has proposed a compromise bill. It would fix the $80 million error, and would include language saying it is the public policy of Kansas to require school districts to have LOBs of at least 15 percent. “That’s where the error happened. It complicates things because you have to adjust everything by 15 percent and it’s hard for people to ...

Gov. Jeff Colyer signs bill adding $500 million over five years to public sch...
17 Apr 2018 at 12:44pm

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed into law a bill the state Legislature developed to ramp up spending on K-12 public education by more than $500 million during a five-year period and rectify constitutional shortcomings in distribution of aid. State Rep. Fred Patton, a Topeka Republican who serves as president of the Seaman school board, said the vast majority of the additional funding would be funneled into teacher salaries and to classrooms in ways that targeted low-performing students. “This additional money will make a significant difference to our schools and communities both now and...

Kansas lawmakers boost school funding despite GOP’s battles
8 Apr 2018 at 12:38pm

Kansas legislators approved an increase in spending on school funding early Sunday, with Republicans pushing the measure to passage over the bitter objections of some GOP colleagues in hopes of meeting a court mandate. The House passed the bill Saturday, 63-56, and GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer endorsed it publicly. “I am pleased that we were able to compromise and pass a bill that ensures our schools will remain open and are funded adequately and equitably,” Colyer said in a statement.

Topeka House member finds Goldilocks moment in school-finance debate
2 Apr 2018 at 8:17pm

Topeka Rep. Fred Patton closed debate on the K-12 school finance bill Monday by urging legislators to recognize the effort of a House budget committee and pass the measure allocating $500 million to education over the course of the next five years. ″(The committee worked) to, not only address the court mandate and to show our work, but more importantly, to put in place a funding formula that meets the needs of our Kansan Schools,” said Patton, the committee chairman and president of the Seaman public school district board. The measure, however, fell eight votes short. It failed on a vote ...

House school finance plan passes; Senate version still to come
6 Apr 2018 at 8:40pm

The second try at passing a school finance bill out of the Kansas House was successful Tuesday shortly after noon. No substantive changes were made to the bill that failed Monday on a 55-65 vote, but the motion did pass 71-53 to send the bill to final action. “I know a lot of you spent last night and the last 12-18 hours looking into this, paying attention to the numbers, seeing if the numbers made sense to you and I appreciate those,” said the bill’s carrier, Republican Rep. Fred Patton of Topeka. “I appreciate those of you that reached out to me. I continue to think this is a good bill....