Law & Courts

Controversial Conversation

By Linda Jacobson — May 09, 2006 1 min read

A lunchtime meeting between a Kansas Supreme Court justice and the president of the state Senate in which the ongoing school finance lawsuit against the state was discussed has prompted a request for an investigation by a judicial panel.

On March 1, Justice Lawton R. Nuss met at a Mexican restaurant in Topeka with Senate President Stephen Morris and Sen. Pete Brungardt, both Republicans.

In an April 26 memo to the Republican caucus, Sen. Morris wrote that the conversation about the finance case lasted only about five minutes. He said that Justice Nuss wanted to know how a House bill recommending $500 million for schools compared with figures compiled by a state auditor and with the figures in a cost study by the Denver-based school finance consultants John G. Augenblick and John L. Myers.

“The justice did make a comment that he had read quotes in the paper indicating several leaders would like to see a bipartisan school finance plan adopted by the legislature before final adjournment,” Sen. Morris wrote. “He said he thought that sounded good. This was the extent of the discussion.”

“With pressing issues still awaiting action,” he continued, “it is unfortunate some are attempting to blow this situation out of proportion. We must move on to the important issues yet to be resolved.”

A statement issued by the supreme court on April 20 supported Mr. Morris’ account.

Still, Justice Nuss has withdrawn from the case to avoid an appearance of impropriety. Chief Justice Kay McFarland has asked the state’s Commission on Judicial Qualifications to look into whether the justice violated ethical standards.

See Also

The issue comes at a time when the Kansas legislature, which has been ordered by the court to increase school aid, is trying to meet that demand before the end of this year’s session.

Some legislators argue that the conversation proves that the court is trying to legislate from the bench.

But representatives of the education community hope lawmakers will look past the controversy. “The luncheon was an unfortunate incident in that it served as a distraction to the work being done,” Jim Edwards, a government-relations specialist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, said in an e-mail.

“All in all, cooler heads have seemed to prevail,” he said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 10, 2006 edition of Education Week

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts Puerto Rico’s Former Education Secretary Pleads Guilty to Fraud Conspiracy
Julia Keleher pleaded guilty to federal fraud conspiracy charges, striking a felony plea bargain and potentially avoiding maximum jail time.
Syra Ortiz-Blanes, The Miami Herald
4 min read
In this Oct. 13, 2017 file photo, Education Secretary Julia Keleher gets a hug from a student at Ramon Marin Sola Elementary School, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.
In this Oct. 13, 2017 photo, Education Secretary Julia Keleher hugs a student at Ramon Marín Sola Elementary School, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. The former education secretary pleaded guilty to two federal fraud conspiracy charges for crimes committed during her time as Puerto Rico’s top education official.
Carlos Giusti/AP
Law & Courts High Court Declines to Hear Ex-Principal's Race-Bias Case Over Transfer to Central Office
The justices also refuse to take up a case challenging the requirement that men, but not women, register for the military draft.
4 min read
In this Nov. 4, 2020 photo, the Supreme Court in Washington.
In this Nov. 4, 2020 photo, the Supreme Court in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Law & Courts 11-Year-Old Challenges West Virginia Law Barring Transgender Girls From Female Sports
The lawsuit argues that the measure targets transgender females in violation of the equal-protection clause and Title IX.
4 min read
Image of a gavel.
Marilyn Nieves/E+
Law & Courts Court Restores Officers' Immunity Over Seizure of High School Athletes in Peeping Probe
A federal appeals court ruled in the case of two campus officers involved in detaining football camp participants for hours of questioning.
4 min read
Image of cellphones.
RyanJLane/iStock/Getty