school funding | KCUR

school funding

bigstock.com

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that the state needs to increase funding for public K-12 schools, but sent the decision back to the Shawnee County District Court to enforce.

The Kansas Supreme Court will hand down a decision Friday in a lawsuit over school funding and the potential impact could be hundreds of millions of dollars.

A group made up of school districts and parents says Kansas is not living up to its constitutional responsibility to fund education. They say the state has reneged on promises to increase spending.

Those promises followed a previous lawsuit over school funding. Lawyers for the state say it is up to legislators, not the courts, to decide how much to spend on schools.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Coming out of his State of the State call for more education spending, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon brought his case to Kansas City and a younger audience with a stake in the future. 

The forum was an assembly of some 700 Center High School students.

The Governor tried to break down staggering financials to something a less sophisticated economics mind would understand, telling students the system can open more than a local earnings’ future, to world-wide.

Wikimedia Commons - CC

The 2014 Kansas legislative session kicks off Monday, and Gov. Sam Brownback says education is at the top of his priorities, including his recently unveiled reading initiative and instituting statewide full-day kindergarten. 

"I think the public wants to see us produce high-quality products, here from government. And the core function of state government is education," Brownback said in an exclusive interview. "We put over half of our state general fund in K-12, but we need to see it produce and not just put money in. And, not ask for any results."

The Kansas Supreme Court generally issues rulings on Fridays, so many people in the Kansas Legislature were watching to see if the court would release its opinion in a controversial school finance case Friday.

The justices did not, so lawmakers are likely to start the legislative session on Monday without a decision in the case.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, says the case could prompt lawmakers to consider rewriting the state's school funding formula.

Gov. Sam Brownback met with education officials and some top Republican lawmakers Monday to discuss school finance. The gathering comes as the Kansas Supreme Court considers a lawsuit over education spending and lawmakers prepare for the 2014 legislative session.

Brownback says the closed-door meeting was aimed at bringing together his office, education officials that represent local districts and lawmakers. He says those groups have not always seen eye-to-eye on the issue of education funding, leading to lawsuits.

Kansas spends more money on education that any other item in the state budget, and education funding will likely be the dominant issue when lawmakers convene the legislative session in January.

A state court has already ordered lawmakers to spend more on education. And soon, the Kansas Supreme Court will issue its own ruling on a lawsuit that claims the state has been shortchanging public schools. All of this led lawmakers to spend two days last week studying up on school funding.

The formula

A group of Kansas lawmakers will begin visiting college and university campuses this week to talk budget issues. The visits come in the wake of nearly $50 million in budget cuts over two years passed by legislators.

Lawmakers have said they want to talk to university officials about efficiency and how they spend money. Gov. Sam Brownback, who opposed the funding cuts, says he wants lawmakers to learn more about the role of higher education in Kansas and the impact of the cuts.

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.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Debate over Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax bill was fierce in the Missouri House and the governor prevailed. 

The Republican majority was unable to muster the votes to make the $700 million tax cut into law.

The measure would have cut business taxes in half. Personal taxes would have been cut disproportionately.

Clay County Democrat Jon Carpenter called it unfair.

The first Kansas legislative session since 1861 to extend into June is over.  But the budget plan passed early Sunday is a frustration for a number of agencies and institutions; one is the Kansas University Medical Center.

Officials aren’t yet sure what the new budget will mean; in a speech this spring, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little worried about a projected cut and the wide reach, particularly on the university’s satellite operations.

bigstock

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.

New Regulations Change Access To Research

Mar 1, 2013
Goldmund100

Due to a new White House directive, results from federally-funded research will be easier to access publicly.

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.

bigstock.com

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.

bigstock

Testimony in the Kansas school finance trial will draw to a close today as lawyers in the case call their final witnesses.

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.

Some Kansas School Districts On The Brink

Jun 20, 2012
bigstock

A top official at the Kansas State Department of Education says recent budget cuts have pushed some school districts to the brink of insolvency.

Steve Walker

The Kansas school finance trial enters its third week. A plan to replace Medicaid in Kansas drew criticism at its first public hearing.  It’s a double dose of Shakespeare in Kansas City.  That & more news from KCUR.

Kansas School Finance Trial Continues

Jun 19, 2012
Peter Hancock / Kansas Education Policy Report

The trial resumes today in the school finance lawsuit where 54 school districts are claiming the state of Kansas is under-funding public education.

Witness Says Kansas Schools Underfunded

Jun 12, 2012
Dr. Bruce Baker
Peter Hancock

An expert witness in the ongoing school finance trial says Kansas is under-funding public schools by thousands of dollars per pupil each year. 

Pencils, Papers, Shoes: What Factors Into The Kansas School Finance Formula?

Jun 7, 2012
bigstock.com

Judges in the Kansas school finance lawsuit are being asked to decide how much responsibility the state has in making sure all children have the same chance at a quality education.

The Kansas City Council delays voting on a daytime curfew.  MoDOT considers expanding rail service. Missouri Senators battle over education funding.  That and more news from KCUR.

user Mrd7b2 / Wikipedia

Children's Mercy gets out of the HMO business, Kansas Dems seek to increase school funding & a bill could override Missouri governor's authority in creating a health care exchange: A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

Democrats in the Kansas Legislature have unveiled a school funding plan as an alternative to the one introduced by Governor Sam Brownback.

The Democratic plan would increase school funding with the goal of restoring some of the cuts made in recent years. It would also provide about $45 million to help reduce local property taxes.

Representative Paul Davis of Lawrence is the top Democrat in the House. He says budget cuts to education in recent years have had a significant impact on schools.

Educators Pore Over New School Funding Formula

Dec 14, 2011
bigstock

Kansas school districts are digesting a sweeping school finance plan proposed today by Governor Sam Brownback.

He promises no district will lose state funds via the proposal, which is designed to give local boards a freer hand in spending. It would also allow districts to raise property taxes.

The property tax cap, set by state law, would be removed under the Brownback plan, which would go into effect in July 2013. President of the Shawnee Mission School Board Craig Denny was struck by that and another provision.

kansas.gov

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback spelled out the details of his school finance overhaul Wednesday. It would allow local taxpayers to raise property taxes as high as they wanted for education. Currently, school districts can only raise  a limited amount of funding from property taxes: a maximum of 30 percent of the funding they receive from the state.

Pages