Take a look at the Kansas budget and one item looms large, eating up more state spending than anything else.
Schools swallow about $4.5 billion. That spending rose after an infusion of cash by lawmakers earlier this year in response to a court ruling in a long-running fight over whether state government does enough to support public education.
The leading candidates for governor offer various notions about how best to build strong schools in the state — how much to spend and where best to put those tax dollars.
Laura Kelly, the state senator and Democratic nominee, says there’s little getting around a need to spend more.
Kris Kobach, the Republican candidate and secretary of state, contends the state could spend money better if districts would just trim their administrative fat.
Greg Orman, a Kansas City-area businessman and independent candidate, thinks he can fix schools by revving up the state’s economy.