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Court: KS Schools Treated Unequally

Brownback education lawsuit - smallGovernor Sam Brownback speaks about the education lawsuit, flanked by House Speaker Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)The Kansas Supreme Court says the state has created unconstitutional inequalities between school districts by cutting state funds. School districts and parents filed a lawsuit asking the state to increase education funding. The court says lawmakers created inequality when they cut certain education funds during the recession. Justices say lawmakers must fix it by July. Joyce Eisenmenger Morrison is with the group Schools for Fair Funding, which filed the lawsuit. She says fixing the equality issue could cost more than $100 million.

But Governor Sam Brownback and legislative leaders say they don’t agree that they will have to put more money into the system. Brownback says lawmakers have options such as rewriting that part of the school funding formula. He says he’s pleased with the ruling because the court didn’t specify an amount the state needs to spend per student, but instead focused on equity.

The court did not rule on the larger issue of whether Kansas is adequately funding education. Justices say a lower court used the wrong test to determine adequacy, so the lower court will have to consider it again.




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