Kansas Supreme Court to rule on school funding bill, preventing shutdown

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Kansas schools will not shut down on July 1.

The Kansas Supreme Court agreed to let Senate Bill 19 take effect for now, as they prepare to review if the new law is constitutional and adequately and equitably funds state schools. Justices plan to hear arguments from attorneys on July 18.

Senate Bill 19 funnels $293 million more into schools over the next two years. It also creates a new per-pupil funding formula for the state's 286 local school districts to provide more funds to programs for low-performing students.

Four school districts, including Kansas City, Kansas sued the state over funding in 2010. This new bill aims to correct issues of equity across all state schools, as required by the court.

David Smith, KCKPS Chief of Public Affairs, said, "If you go back to 2009 and where we were before the state started cutting the schools, we were at an amount of base state aid per pupil that would be about $900 million more than what we have now. And then if you look at the legislature's own studies, that would be about $1.4 billion."

Last week, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a court filing that the law, "Is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the Rose standards." That is the same measure used by the court to rule that $4 billion in funding was inadequate under the state constitution. 

Kansas Sen. Dinah Sykes says she's concerned because "Overall I think the funding formula is good. I'm not sure that it's enough money."

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