District: Your child's education may not be adequately funded
7:25 PM, Oct 8, 2013
5:30 AM, Oct 9, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Has the state of Kansas broken its promise to adequately fund your child's education? It is a question the State Supreme Court must decide.
The state of Kansas is asking the Supreme Court to withdraw a lower-court ruling issued in January, ordering the state to increase school funding by at least $440 million a year.
Justices are considering a lawsuit filed in 2010 by attorneys for students and several school districts.
Several of them on Tuesday said public school students do not get enough money to be properly educated.
A state law set the state's base funding for public schools at $4,492, but currently the funding is $3,838 per student.
School districts argued lawmakers promised them the money as far back as 2006.
According to the constitution, lawmakers must provide enough money for a suitable education.
The state argued lawmakers hands are tied and blamed the massive personal income tax cuts approved a nearly two years ago.
Lawmakers said they must provide a healthy economy and education.
Republican Representative Scott Schwab of Olathe said Kansans are worried about their jobs.
"When I talk to people in my district, they go to their kids' school and they see two gyms in their kid's elementary school but yet they don't have a job," Schwab said. "They're more concerned about a job than where their kids current education funding is because they know the (test score) outcomes are fine. They're getting a good education."
But David Smith, a spokesman with Kansas City Kansas schools, one of the 54 districts suing the state, countered.
"Education is the economic driver in our state. If we educate our students well this is going to be a wealthy and a healthy state." Smith said. "It's everybody's interest that we do a good job of educating kids and if we don't have the resources to do that we all suffer down the road."
Schwab said when all the per-pupil funding is added up, the state really pays more than $12,000 a student. He said it is why state test scores have not fallen overall.
Smith said the cuts have had real consequences. The Kansas City, Kan., school district has had to cut about 130 teachers in the last three years to make up for the lost money while the district added 600 students just this year alone.
The court is expected to make a ruling in January.