If Kansas changes the way it funds education, a lawsuit the Kansas City, Kan., district is waging against the state could take even more time to get resolved.
“We’re involved because the Legislature and the governor have not done their duty funding education in this state,” said David A. Smith, chief of staff for the school district.
At its meeting Tuesday night, the Kansas City, Kan., board of education heard an update on the lawsuit, which contends that previous cuts of $303 million to education go against the state constitution.
The district is part of the group Schools for Fair Funding, which filed the lawsuit in November 2010. On Oct. 14, the group held a meeting in Newton, Kan., about potential changes to the educational funding plan.
“There is nothing wrong with the current plan if they would just fund it,” said John Robb, attorney for the group.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan, presented earlier this month, is simply an outline of what may be proposed, but talk of removing weights and the cap on local-option property taxes has officials in Wyandotte County concerned.
“If you talk about raising money locally, it’s obviously going to be a challenge for us,” Smith said.
The percentage of students in the free and reduced-price lunch program in the district is about double the state average of 43.6 percent. The assessed valuation per pupil is $37,167 in Kansas City, Kan., putting it on the low end of property wealth for Kansas districts.
The assessed valuation per student is $110,225 in Shawnee Mission and $107,883 in Blue Valley.
If the coming legislative session does bring changes to the way the state funds education, it will delay the lawsuit, and Smith said it could be three or four years before the district sees any results.