Kansas Supreme Court Hears School Finance Arguments

Oct 8, 2013

A lower court's order saying Kansas must add at least $440 million a year to funding for public schools is now in the hands of the Kansas Supreme Court. Attorneys for both sides spent more than three hours Tuesday making their arguments.

Solicitor General Stephen McAllister told the court the judicial system can declare laws unconstitutional, but it doesn’t have the authority to tell the legislature how much they must budget for education.

“What the plaintiff districts seek from this court is a ruling that the Kansas Constitution binds us to an unsustainable model of school funding that ultimately will undermine our very system of government,” he says.

McAllister says it’s up to lawmakers to set spending levels, and it’s up to the voters to elect new legislators if they disagree with those decisions.

Attorney Alan Rupe represents the school districts who filed suit to enforce the funding levels previously ordered by the high court

“The State of Kansas did not fund the schools. They cut it $511 million," says attorney Alan Rupe, who represents the school districts that filed suit to enforce the funding levels previously ordered by the court.

"They instituted a tax cut of $2.5 billion, and they took all of the resources out of the system, and then stand here and plead that they can’t afford to increase spending to schools. That’s the problem that we’re dealing with here.”

The court has taken the case under advisement.