Senate Committee Reviews School Funding Lawsuits | KCUR

Senate Committee Reviews School Funding Lawsuits

Feb 5, 2013

Kansas lawmakers are considering a change to the state Constitution in response to lawsuits over school funding.

About eight years ago, a lawsuit ended with an agreement to increase spending on students, but lawmakers cut back when the economy slowed, rekindling the legal battle. Legislators could soon start work on a constitutional amendment, so only they will be able to determine what is a suitable level of funding.

The Senate Judiciary Committee got a refresher course on school funding lawsuits to help prep them for working on the amendment. Senator Greg Smith, an Overland Park Republican, says he wants some proof that more funding equals better student outcomes.

“That’s what I’m looking for. Where’s the hard data that shows me if we spend $4,492 on every single kid in the state of Kansas, they’re all going to pass and have a great education?” asked Smith.

The courts came up with the $4,492 per student number in part based on a study, which some senators questioned. But Senator Pat Pettey, a Kansas City Democrat, says perhaps some lawmakers just don’t like the outcome of the study.

“Sometimes we tend to question when the results don’t come out the way we want.”

The committee could start hearings on the proposed constitutional amendment later this month.