Kansas Supreme Court: School funding is adequate

Local News

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the legislature’s most recent school funding plan is adequate.

But the high court declined in its ruling Friday to close the protracted education funding lawsuit that prompted the decision.

The high court released its decision Friday morning in the long-running lawsuit filed by four local school districts in 2010. The justices have ruled six times in less than six years that funding isn’t sufficient under the Kansas Constitution.

In 2018, the legislature passed a five-year funding plan but didn’t adjust for inflation. In April 2019, they passed a bill that added about $90 million per year for the next four years.

Kansas spends more than $4 billion a year on its public schools or about $1 billion more than it did during the 2013-14 school year. The increase in money will raise to $4.3 billion in 2019 to $4.7 billion in school year 2022-2023.

The court in its decision says it will retain jurisdiction until all planned funding has been phased in successfully. 

Governor Laura Kelly applauded the decision.

Today is a great day for Kansas and for our kids. Educating our kids is not just one of the best ways to address challenges facing our state, it’s also our moral and constitutional obligation, said Kelly.

I will do everything I can to hold the Legislature to its promise to fully fund our schools and avoid more legal battles over our education system. Funding our schools is about more than money and lawsuits. It’s about our kids, their hopes and dreams, and the future of Kansas, said Kelly.

Many education groups also were in favor of the decision.

We now have funding certainty, and investing in those teachers now and investing in those salaries for the people that we represent is very important. Unfortunately we have a lot of districts out there who are still staying we’re not really sure, we’re not really sure, well this really closes the door on that, said Kansas National Education Association spokesman Marcus Baltzell.

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