By David H. CarrAssociated PressThe Kansas Legislature passed legislation Tuesday that would allow schools to use federal tax credits to help them pay for the construction of new buildings.
The bill, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, provides $4 million in tax credits for the purchase of new construction that is expected to begin this year.
The credits are meant to encourage the construction and maintenance of schools and facilities that are essential to the health, safety and well-being of students, teachers, administrators and others, the Kansas Department of Education said in a news release.
The legislation is the latest in a series of efforts to help schools in the state.
It comes as school districts across the nation grapple with a growing shortage of teachers and teachers’ compensation.
In recent years, the number of charter schools in states with large populations of students with disabilities has increased dramatically.
In Kansas, there are about 1,600 charter schools, and many are run by private companies, according to the Kansas Association of Charter Schools.
The tax credits will go to school districts that use tax credits instead of property taxes to help pay for school construction.
Kansas’ current law allows schools to receive up to $20,000 in tax credit dollars for each new building that they buy.
The measure, approved by the House and Senate, allows school districts to apply for tax credits of up to 20 percent of the cost of construction and renovation.
The state would pay for construction, maintenance and other costs for the new buildings, which would then be returned to the districts in the form of tax credits.
Under the tax credits, schools would receive a maximum of $4,500 per school for each building, which can vary from school to school.
Schools would also receive $5,000 per building for each of two years.
Sam Brownback signed a bill last month that requires schools to spend an average of $3,500 a year on construction and renovations, which could increase the cost by $3.5 million per school.
The measure, which also requires districts to spend $20 million per year on new buildings and renovations, is expected in 2019.