Kansas Rules School Funding System Unconstitutional - Again

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The justices ruled in a lawsuit filed by four school districts that sued the state in 2010 and argued that legislators were not fulfilling a duty under the state constitution to finance a suitable education for each of the state's 458,000 public school students.

In virtually every state, education advocates have taken their fight to the courts, arguing that state commitments to providing public education are not being met because of inequitable or insufficient funding formulas.

Ottley said his district has been doing more with less the last several years, and he hopes the ruling will help Victoria schools move forward.

Rob Scheib, assistant superintendent of business with Emporia Public Schools, said the state has indicated it wants to adequately fund schools.

"We've lost a whole generation of kids with inadequate funding, and hopefully this will communicate to the state how important it is not to lose a single kid, and that we need to do better than what we've done."

"We ultimately held that for the 2016-2017 school year, the legislative response cured the constitutional inequities confirmed to exist in our previous decisions", as the justices said in today's opinion.

"To get a bill out of committee is problem one", Rooker said.

The conservative Republican governor said in a statement Thursday that the GOP-controlled Legislature has an opportunity to engage in what he called "transformative educational reform".

While the ruling did not mandate a specific price tag or course of action, school leaders throughout the Kansas City area cautiously called the decision a victory, even as it remained unclear where lawmakers would find the money to support schools and whether measures to bring Kansas funding up to standard would have to be implemented over time.

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The court's decision indicated that restoring the state's old school finance system and increasing the base aid per student would satisfy its constitutional requirement to provide an adequate eduction for students.

With the decision, the court also gave state lawmakers time to devise a new school financing system, setting a deadline of June 30.

Jenkins says the school will help to fill a gap for parents who can not afford the existing private schools in Wichita, but want more for the children than a public education provides.

"I anticipate the Legislature will produce a formula", Robb said. She is the mother of four children aged 8 to 22.

Brownback and legislators have acknowledged that they couldn't fully settle tax and budget issues without some idea of what the court would demand.

The block grant formula is set to expire on the same day the Court has required the Legislature to comply with the order.

Kansas' attorney general says a state Supreme Court ruling suggests that lawmakers should concentrate on helping underperforming students by boosting spending on public schools. The justices said evidence in the case showed that significant percentages of students, particularly minority pupils, are not proficient in reading and math.

School board president Sheril Logan said the future of the state is dependent on children receiving a 21st Century education. There are 15,000 or almost one half of all African-American students, along with 33,000, or more than one-third of all Hispanic students who are not proficient in reading and math. 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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