Supreme Court rules education funding is inadequate
Lawmakers with a focus on education reacted to the Kansas Supreme Court's unanimous ruling that schools are inadequately funded with a mix of skepticism and relief, and diverged on how the Legislature should respond.
A similar situation occurred in 2016 when the court ruled a portion of the state's block grant funding system was unconstitutional and gave the same June 30 deadline.
Eyewitness News is following the case.
"Now, more than ever, Governor Brownback and Republican legislative leaders must stop playing political games and get serious about fully funding our children and grandchildren's education", Hensley said. "Our education system is one of the most important functions of state government, which is why we established the new House K-12 Education Budget Committee that is dedicated to establishing a funding solution that addresses the achievement gap and supports special student populations". "We owe the people of Kansas a well-run state".
"This opinion spends a lot of time focusing on the fact that money, in fact, does matter", Rooker said.
"It's my fear that it's going to be Johnson County funding the rest of the state again", he said. He said he did not believe the legislature necessarily had to put more money into K-12 education because the justices did not include any information about how much money would be required to meet the adequacy requirement. Kansas lawmakers are now on break this week, but as Ward says, they will have to act quickly to draft new legislation to meet the court's deadline.
"Moving forward [from the court deadline] without a school formula puts the education funding at great risk as to, will the schools open?"
The block grant system is set to end June 30, and the high court says lawmakers have to demonstrate the new funding system handles both adequacy issues brought up Thursday and equity matters resolved previous year. It contains a four-year scaling up in funding, she said.
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Alan Rupe, the attorney for the plaintiff districts, said in an email that he expects the Legislature to act quickly to satisfy order.
The bad news keeps piling up for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and his radical budget-cutting experiment. With a high poverty rate and a high number of bilingual students, Emporia has several areas of concern that they will be keeping an eye on as the new funding formula develops.
Even though block grant funding was set to end June 30, there had been speculation the Legislature might extend block grants another year.
Robb said after the Legislature settles on a formula, there will be court hearings to determine if it fulfills constitutional requirements.
Kansas' attorney general says a state Supreme Court ruling suggests that lawmakers should concentrate on helping underperforming students by boosting spending on public schools. And because of that, many kids struggling in the classroom have not been getting the instruction they need to learn.
Deena Horst, of Salina, District 6 state Board of Education representative, said she thought it was interesting the court didn't recommend a specific dollar amount in its decision.
Among the factors that led to the court's decision was that approximately one-half of the state's African-American students are not proficient in reading and math; one-third of Hispanic students failed to meet standards; and one-third of students who receive free and reduced lunches are not proficient either. Certain ethnic groups, according to the court findings, fall well behind others - and the court also said the plaintiffs in the case have proven the student performance issues were linked to funding levels.
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