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Kansas Governor Signs School Aid Bill Meant to Mollify Supreme Court

The governor's office inside the Kansas Statehouse. (Photo by Dan Skinner)

Republican Governor Sam Brownback has signed a school funding plan into law. It's designed to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court ruling. The court says lawmakers need to reduce funding disparities between districts or the justices could close schools. The new law redistributes money and makes sure no district loses overall state funding.

Brownback says he wants to avoid school closures and thinks this plan solves the problem. He hopes the court reviews the compromise with what he calls “appropriate deference.”
Attorney General Derek Schmidt says his office will now submit the funding plan to the court, which will likely request input from those who filed suit against the state.

“The critical variable that I hope we can get all parties to agree on and the court will recognize and agree on, is that a swift determination is in everybody’s interest,” says Schmidt.
An attorney for the schools suing the state, Alan Rupe, says this plan doesn’t solve the issue because it shuffles money around and doesn’t add new funding for schools. He says they’ll argue before justices that the state has not complied with the court’s order.


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Governor Sam Brownback has signed an education funding bill designed to prevent the state Supreme Court from shutting down the state's public schools. Brownback announced today (THUR) that he had signed the measure. He took the action yesterday (WED). The bill is a response to a Supreme Court ruling in February that the state isn't providing enough aid to its poor districts. The justices threatened to shut down schools if lawmakers didn't act by June 30. The bill redistributes $83 million of the state's $4 billion-plus in annual aid. Critics contend that the bill doesn't solve the problems identified by the court. But Brownback said in a statement that the bill arose from what he called a "delicate legislative compromise." He called on the court to review it with "appropriate deference."

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