Friday, March 7, 2014

Kansas Supreme Court: School funding is unconstitutional

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The Kansas Supreme Court said on Friday the State of Kansas is not adequately funding education.

More from The Associated Press here:
The Kansas Supreme Court said Friday the state's current public school funding levels are unconstitutional. 
In the much-anticipated ruling, the court said Kansas' poor school districts were harmed when the state made the decision to cut certain payments when tax revenues declined during the Great Recession. 
The Supreme Court also sent the case back to district court for more review to "promptly" determine what the adequate amount of funding should be, but didn't set a deadline for a hearing. It did, however, set a July 1 deadline for legislators to restore money for two funds aimed at helping poorer districts with capital improvements and general school operations.
Here's Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's response to the ruling:
“This is a complex decision that requires thoughtful review. I will have a briefing with the Attorney General and will hold a press conference later today. I will work with leadership in the Kansas Senate and House to determine a path forward that honors our  tradition of providing a quality education to every child and that keeps our schools open, our teachers teaching and our students learning."

UPDATE 11:43 a.m. : Here's a statement from the Kansas City, Kan., Public School District, one of the largest school districts involved in the lawsuit.
“This ruling has profound significance for the future of our students and students throughout the state,” said Dr. Cynthia Lane, superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. “This decision makes clear that the legislature has a constitutional obligation to provide equitable funding for all Kansas children. We are confident that the Kansas legislature will take the necessary steps to fulfill their constitutional obligation.”