The Latest: Kansas Senate GOP leader wants school aid deal

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The Latest: Kansas Senate GOP leader wants school aid deal
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer speaks to reporters outside the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Colyer begins his tenure Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, as Kansas governor replacing Gov. Sam Brownback, his GOP predecessor who is stepping down to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. (AP Photo/John Hanna, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas swearing in a new governor (all times local):

9 a.m.

A top Republican in the Kansas Legislature is urging incoming GOP Gov. Jeff Colyer to push for a long-term settlement of ongoing lawsuits over funding for public schools.

State Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning said Wednesday ahead of Colyer’s afternoon swearing-in that the new governor should either back a change in the state constitution or initiate settlement talks with school districts suing the state. Denning is influential among GOP conservatives.

Kansas has been in and out of school funding lawsuits for decades. Four local school districts sued the state in 2010.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that the state’s funding of more than billion a year is inadequate under the state constitution.

Colyer is replacing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, who is stepping down to take an ambassador’s post.

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11:38 p.m. Tuesday

Republican Jeff Colyer is preparing to take over as Kansas’ next governor, facing a skeptical Legislature deeply divided over a court mandate to increase state spending on public schools.

Colyer is the state’s longest-serving lieutenant governor and was scheduled to be sworn in as governor Wednesday afternoon.

He is replacing GOP Gov. Sam Brownback, who’s stepping down to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

The biggest task facing Colyer and the GOP-controlled Legislature is responding to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in October that funding for public schools remains constitutionally inadequate.

Brownback proposed phasing in a million increase over five years and relying only on growth in state revenues to pay for it. The plan angered many Republicans, who viewed it as fiscally reckless.