Government & Politics

Kansas attorney general asks state’s high court to sign off on new school finance plan

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement Friday that he has asked the state’s Supreme Court to approve a new school finance law passed by lawmakers.

In a court filing and accompanying statement, the Kansas Republican said the new plan “is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed” the court’s standard.

Kansas lawmakers passed a new school finance formula this month after a March ruling by the Kansas Supreme Court that said the state had failed to ensure adequate funding for public schools.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed the plan into law Thursday. Lawmakers were given a June 30 deadline to satisfy the court.

In the statement released Friday, Schmidt’s office said he has “asked the Court to complete its review of the new legislation before then or to extend that deadline.”

“If the deadline passes without an approved school-funding system in place, the existing law authorizing money for schools will be invalidated, effectively shutting off funding for the state’s public school system and closing schools,” the statement said.

The new formula adds around $488 million to state school funding over two years. Several Kansas Democrats criticized the new school finance plan as it passed the Legislature and said the funding in the bill is inadequate. Some Republicans have continued to stand by the structure of the formula.

The Kansas Supreme Court also said in a statement Friday morning it has notified lawyers in the school finance case to appear by phone for a scheduling conference Monday relating to the new formula.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw