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Pending Kansas Supreme Court Decision on School Finance Hangs over Legislative Session

The Kansas Statehouse. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Kansas lawmakers already know they’ll have some big issues on their plate during the next legislative session, which kicks off in January. There’s also uncertainty clouding the issues. As Stephen Koranda reports, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in a school funding lawsuit this fall, but justices haven’t yet handed down a decision.

Kansas lawmakers will need to fill a $350 million hole in the current year’s budget, another hole for the coming year and they’re supposed to write a new school funding plan. All of that will be more difficult if Supreme Court justices order hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending on education, which they could do.

So when can legislators expect a decision?
“It could come tomorrow or it could come months from now. I just don’t know,” says Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
He’s a former state lawmaker and says getting a decision sooner would help legislators as they tackle the budget. He says the justices have been kind of quick with some recent rulings.
“Based on past practice, it’s reasonable to speculate that a decision might be coming relatively soon given the start of the legislative session,” says Schmidt.
But that’s no guarantee. For now, all lawmakers can do is wait.

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