Kansas Supreme Court

Kansas courts are staying open. At least, that’s what it looks like now that Kansas lawmakers have sent a bill to Governor Brownback to repeal the portion of a statute de-funding the judiciary. On another front, lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would change how Supreme Court judges are picked.

Guests:

Joe Gratz / Flickr--CC

Kansas House and Senate committees moved quickly Thursday to keep funding intact for the state's courts.

Lawmakers last year tied the judicial budget to another bill changing how chief judges are selected in Kansas judicial districts. When that law was struck down, it also invalidated the court budget, threatening to shut down the court system.

The House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill that would reinstate the court funding. 

Credit Patrick McKay / Flickr -- CC

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday refused to hear the appeal of a group of Shawnee Mission parents who want limits lifted on how much local school districts can raise in local taxes.

However, this is not the end of the court case.

The high court refused the case, called Petrella, without comment.

The parents sued the state five years ago arguing that if patrons want to tax themselves more to pay for schools, the state shouldn’t be allowed to stop them. Kansas law caps how much local school districts can spend in local property taxes.

It is still unknown what the impact of the landmark Gannon school finance case will be, since the Kansas Supreme Court won't ultimately decide on it until sometime next year. 

What is clearer now, though, is the state's stance on what role the Court should play in determining funding for Kansas public education. In short, the state thinks the Court has no role. Briefs filed in Gannon Monday by the state essentially tell the Court to stay out of its legislative business. 

Patrick McKay / Flickr -- CC

While the Gannon school funding case now before the Kansas Supreme Court has garnered most of the attention, there's another school finance case out there and that one has gone all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case, known as Petrella, was filed by parents in the Shawnee Mission School District in 2010 against the state. The parents argue the district should be able to raise unlimited local tax money to pay for education. The state right now caps how much money can be spent locally as a way to equalize education for all Kansas kids.

Kansas Supreme Court

While public schools in Kansas deal with frozen budgets and lawmakers prepare for another session dominated by fights over school funding, there is a small group of people profiting: lawyers representing the state and school districts in the case now before thes Kansas Supreme Court.

The Gannon case was filed in 2010 and since then both sides have incurred a total of more than $5.5 million in attorney fees, as well as travel, expert witness and lobbying costs.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, reporters work with a law professor to make sense of The Gannon v. Kansas school finance lawsuit, and speculate on the outcomes and consequences of that case.

This is an excerpt from Statehouse Blend. You can listen to the full episode here, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Guests:

Gannon V. Kansas

Nov 7, 2015
Matt Hodapp / KCUR

On this week's Statehouse Blend, reporters work with a law professor to make sense of The Gannon v. Kansas school finance lawsuit, and speculate on the outcomes and consequences of that case.

Guests:

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

No matter how deep in the weeds you go on the current school funding case before the Kansas Supreme Court; whether you're talking assessed valuation per pupil (AVPP) or local option budget (LOB) the case seems to come back to block grant funding passed last session by the Legislature.

Kansas Supreme Court

On Friday morning, the Kansas Supreme Court hears arguments in a school funding case that's gone on for years and could lead to the Legislature being ordered to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on public education.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the case, and some of the history.

I can't remember a time when there wasn't a school funding court case in Kansas. Why is that?

In 2014 Kansas lawmakers passed a bill changing how district court chief judges are selected. Since then judges have filed lawsuits against the state and legislators have made it possible to stop funding the judiciary.  Steve Kraske traces the timeline in the ongoing conflict and asks what the next move will be.

Guests:

  • Kansas State Sen. Jeff King, Chair of the Judiciary Committee.
  • Matthew Menendez, Counsel, Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday issued an order that may speed up the appeals process in the ongoing court battle over school funding in the state.

In December a three-judge panel of Shawnee County District Court ruled that the state's school funding formula is constitutional but underfunded. 

While the panel did not say how much more money is needed, it suggested it could be as much as $522 million.

Kansans voted to retain two Kansas Supreme Court justices under fire for their decision to overturn the death sentences of two brothers in one of the most notorious murder cases in the state’s history.

The two, Justice Eric S. Rosen and Justice Lee A. Johnson, were appointed to the court by former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor but stand for retention by voters at the end of their six-year terms.

Maria Carter / KCUR

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that the state needs to spend more money on public schools. But it stopped short of giving an exact dollar amount and sent that back to a lower court with instructions. The decision comes almost four years after the first lawsuit was filed. 

Inequities in the classroom

The court found poorer districts were hurt when the legislature cut funding, creating inequities. The Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools cut 400 positions, including 130 teachers, when education budget cuts took effect. 

MyTudut / Flickr-CC

This morning, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a lower court will deal with what it called unconstitutional inadequate funding for the state's K-12 schools.

On Friday's Up to Date, we take a look at what the 110-page ruling will mean for school funding, how the lower court might handle the the details and how all this affects this fall's race for the governor's office.

Guests:

Kansas Supreme Court Disciplines Former AG Kline

Oct 18, 2013

Former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has temporarily lost the right to practice law in Kansas. The  suspension has no time limit.

The research, investigation and opinion on indefinite suspension of Kline's law license appears in a 154 page document issued October 18 by the Kansas Supreme Court. 

The report outlines allegations of ethical misconduct against the former Johnson County District Attorney.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court and a prominent legislator are butting heads. At issue are allegations made the the justice. He says the legislator, who's an attorney, tried to make a deal tying a pay raise for court workers to a constitutional amendment.

The top Democrats in the Legislature say lawmakers should have a hand in mediation in a case over school funding. They say they'll file a motion making that argument this week.

The Kansas Supreme Court today has put on hold a decision from a district court that ordered Kansas lawmakers to hike spending on public schools.

Kansas Senate Leader Testifies In School Finance Case

Jun 26, 2012
bigstock.com

The trial in the ongoing school finance lawsuit is continuing this week, with a leading member of the Kansas Senate testifying on behalf of the plaintiffs.