Gannon vs State of Kansas

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 with additional information.

The Kansas Supreme Court on Monday struck down the state’s aid to schools as unconstitutionally low — and unfair to poor school districts in particular. The decision could pressure lawmakers to increase school funding by hundreds of millions dollars.

The Gannon v. Kansas lawsuit is in its seventh year. In that time, the case has led to repeated rulings against the state for underfunding schools and responses by lawmakers in the form of appropriations bills.

Lawyers for Kansas and for dozens of school districts suing it filed briefs Friday at the Kansas Supreme Court, in what could be the final leg of a seven-year legal battle over school finance.

The state argues legislation passed early this month ratchets up annual state aid to schools by nearly $300 million over the next two years, and that should be enough to end the Gannon v. Kansas case once and for all. 

The president of the Kansas Senate says a new school funding formula needs to focus on the quarter of students who are at-risk and not meeting state standards. And simply adding money to a funding formula won’t solve the problem, she says.

Sen. Susan Wagle, a Republican from Wichita, says the federal Head Start program is a good model on how to help at-risk children.

Could Brownback K-12 plan be a legal maneuver?

Jan 20, 2015
Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to ditch the state’s K-12 funding program reports the Topeka Capital-Journal. 

Brownback is recommending lawmakers abolish the K-12 funding formula and replace it with more than $3 billion in block grants while the Legislature writes a new formula.

Bruce Baker is a school finance professor at Rutgers University.  The former Kansan says it could be a legal maneuver to escape litigation.  Baker says giving something a new name, calling it a different formula, even when it’s not can be presented in court as an argument to dismiss a case. That forces plaintiffs to file a new lawsuit in a lower court because the formula specified no longer exists.

Kansas: Supreme Court rules on school finance case

Mar 7, 2014
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

ksn.com

Governor Sam Brownback said the number one item in the state budget is education in his recent State of the State speech according to a recent article from the Kansas Health Institute.