The Kansas Supreme Court has given its blessing to school funding legislation passed in a special session last week.
The legislation, signed into law this week by Gov. Sam Brownback, was in response to the court’s end-of-the-month deadline for Kansas lawmakers to equalize funding between richer and poorer school districts.
Alan Rupe, the attorney for the school districts suing the state over education funding, said in an email that the “plaintiffs are extremely pleased that schools will be opening in the fall and that funding will be distributed in a manner that comports with the Kansas Constitution’s equity requirement.” Kansas City, Kan., is among the school districts Rupe represents.
The debate over education funding is far from over, however. The new plan is a short-term fix, one that legislators have said they know will need to be discussed further during the next legislative session, which begins in January.
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The new school finance plan passed through the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support on the second day of last week’s special session. The plan gives $38 million to poorer school districts in the state by drawing from the K-12 extraordinary needs fund and money from the expected sale of assets from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
In the order, the Kansas Supreme Court said that “the Legislature has currently satisfied the court’s orders.” The new legislation meets the court’s equity standard, but the adequacy portion of the education funding case is still to come.