Kansas Supreme Court Upholds New Spending Plan

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The Kansas Supreme Court has declared the state’s education spending adequate, effectively ending a two-week special legislative session and resolving, at least for now, the prolonged battle between the legislature and the courts over how Kansas finances K-12 education.

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The court on July 8 found that the $148-million education bill passed by the legislature on July 6 complies with the court’s June 3 ruling that the state spend another $143 million on K-12 education for the 2005-06 school year. That amount was in addition to the $2.4 billion already approved by the state in its fiscal 2006 budget.

Lawyers for the state, the state board of education, and the defendants—the school districts of Dodge City and Salina—supported the state’s newly approved spending before the court, and urged the justices not to allow schools to shut down over the finance issue.

After deliberating for several hours, the justices issued an order stating that: “the present solution may not be ideal. However, it is approved for interim purposes.” They added: “We will continue to retain jurisdiction of this appeal to review further legislative action which may modify, repeal, or make permanent the temporary solution contained in” the July 6 legislation.

Under that legislation, base state spending per student will increase from the $4,222 the legislature approved in its original fiscal 2006 budget to $4,257. Additional money was also allocated for special education and at-risk students.

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