Kansas: Supreme Court rules on school finance case

Mar 7, 2014

Credit khi.org

The Kansas Supreme Court released its decision in the school finance case.  The unanimous decision found the lower court partially erred in its conclusion, and remanded it for further consideration.  The ruling also stated the lower court properly found the state’s funding mechanism had created “unconstitutional, wealth-based disparities” among school districts according to an article from the Kansas Health Institute

The plaintiffs in Gannon v. State of Kansas were four public school districts and 31 individuals.  The court ruled the individual plaintiffs did not have standing to sue, but the school districts did.  Each district has lost funding since 2009, when the Legislature reduced spending on state aid including base state aid per pupil, capital outlay, and supplemental general state aid. 

What makes the finding significant is the State defense argument was that is it solely the Legislature’s role to define school funding, and this is a political issue.  This decision refutes that assertion, noting it was wholly for the court to decide whether an issue was within its purview.

The ruling also stated?  "Under the facts of this case, the school districts' claims...present a justifiable case or controversy because they are not political questions."

Links to the decision and more details from the Kansas Health Institute can be found here.