With $80 Million Fix, Kansas School Funding Heads Back to Court

By Daarel Burnette II — May 01, 2018 1 min read
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Kansas’ lawmakers Monday wrapped up a months-long, legally fraught debate over how much more money they should give to to the state’s public school system.

A last-minute miscalculation left the state’s legislature scrambling in recent weeks to figure out how to provide $80 million more to the public schools for a combined $534 million over the next five years.

The state’s supreme court will now be tasked with deciding whether that’s enough money to provide students with an “adequate” education, as required under the Kansas constitution. More than a quarter of the state’s students don’t meet the state’s basic standards, according to the state’s department of education.

A study commissioned by the state’s legislature earlier this year predicted that Kansas would have to come up with between $1.7 billion and $2 billion over the next five years in order to provide an adequate education.

Kansas legislators also decided this week not to pursue an effort to change the constitution so that the supreme court has no say over school spending amounts. Changing the constitution requires three-fourths approval from both the House and the Senate and that it be approved by voters. Lawmakers decided they didn’t have enough time to pursue the constitutional change or enough support.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.