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Kansas Supreme Court rules state funding is constitutionally inadequate

Kansas Supreme Court rules state funding is constitutionally inadequate

School funding ruling news conference The Kansas Supreme Court has found in the Gannon school funding case that the current school finance block grant formula is inadequate, thus unconstitutional. The court has given the state until June 30, 2017, to adopt a school finance formula that provides adequate funding for public education in Kansas. Watch reaction from Superintendent John Allison, BOE President Sheril Logan and BOE member Senator Lynn Rogers.

“This is good news for Kansas students. But we are not surprised because it is consistent with the eleven previous court opinions on school finance matters,” said BOE President Sheril Logan. “The legislature has to take the court’s ruling seriously to find a new way to fund education.”

“We have to prepare our students for tomorrow’s world, and that requires additional funding. That’s why this is so important,” she added.

“Our responsibility to our students is to educate and prepare them, based on the Rose Standards, for whatever college or career opportunity they may choose. Many factors come into play in order for school districts to fulfill this expectation, not the least of which is an adequate – and fully funded – formula that gives all students 21st century opportunities regardless of their zip code,” said Superintendent John Allison.

“An educated workforce is key to our state’s economic success,” he added.

Superintendent Allison said the final impact of the ruling in terms of increased school funding won’t be known immediately, as the legislature will need to now do its work. The ruling gives the legislature until June 30, 2017 to remedy this matter through the development of a new formula.

“The difficult reality is that the state is broke. We will have major challenges ahead this year and next year from a revenue standpoint, and significant uncertainty about what a new formula looks like. The legislature has much to do between now and June 30,” Superintendent Allison said.

Board member Lynn Rogers spoke on behalf of the BOE and as a Kansas State Senator.

“We had two years to fix this problem with a new funding formula, and nothing happened,” he said. “We need to work together to solve this. We need to work together to do what’s right for kids and adequately fund education. We cannot shortchange another generation of students.”

The full Supreme Court opinion is available online: http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2017/20170302/113267.pdf

The school districts involved in the lawsuit represent about one-third of the students across the state.

 

 

March 2, 2017




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