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Mon March 10, 2014
Solution To Kansas School Funding Lawsuit Unclear
It's not clear how lawmakers will comply with a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that says the state has created inequalities between schools districts. The ruling says lawmakers violated the Kansas Constitution by cutting funds that help equalize school district budgets.
The group that filed that lawsuit, and some lawmakers, say they believe the solution is to restore more than $100 million in education funds.
"The state has not met its obligation to fund Kansas schools in a equitable way. It is time for us to set it right and to fund our classrooms," said Lawrence Democrat Paul Davis, who is also running for governor.
But Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and Republican legislators say they are happy with the outcome because it gives lawmakers options for solving the disparity. They say the state could rewrite the equity laws or pursue another solution.
Brownback hailed the decision because it doesn't directly order legislators to spend more on education.
"Overall I am quite pleased uh, with the decision. It says schools should be measured by performance and outcomes, not by just money spent ... it focuses on equity," said Brownback.
The Supreme Court did not rule on the larger issue of whether Kansas is adequately funding education. Justices say a lower court used the wrong test to determine adequacy, so the lower court will have to consider it again.