News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Kansas Court to Hear State’s Budget Defense
The Kansas Supreme Court is calling on lawyers for the state to defend the constitutionality of the state’s system of financing its schools.
In a brief that was to be filed by April 25, the lawyers must show that the legislature’s education budget for fiscal 2006, which raises K-12 state aid by up to $127 million to nearly $2 billion, makes “suitable provision for finance” of the public schools, as required by the state constitution.
On Jan. 3, the court ruled in Montoy v. Kansas that the school finance system was inadequate, and it ordered the legislature to adopt “corrective legislation” by April 12. ("Kansas Court Orders School Finance Fix," Jan. 12, 2005.)
The budget will raise per-pupil base spending from $3,863 to $4,222 annually, a hike of nearly 11 percent, and increase funding for special education and bilingual programs. Though Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, refused to sign the budget, contending it was not properly funded, it automatically became law without her signature on April 16.
Vol. 24, Issue 33, Page 24