AG Schmidt Appeals School Funding Ruling

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A three-judge panel has ruled in favor of parents and schools who say the state’s formula for funding education is unconstitutional.

Parents and school districts had argued the state has failed to live up to its promises to increase elementary and secondary education funding as ordered by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2006. They say schools have had to make cuts that have hurt student achievement.

Friday’s 245-page ruling from Shawnee County District Court will likely trigger an appeal from the state, though it’s unclear how quickly that case would be heard.

In the ruling, the judges barred lawmakers from further cuts to per-pupil spending. But the ruling also acknowledged the state would likely appeal its findings.

On Friday, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed notice that the State will appeal the ruling on school finance to the Kansas Supreme Court and released the following statement: “Today’s ruling has enormous consequences for the State of Kansas. We have filed notice that we will appeal the decision to the Kansas Supreme Court.”

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued the following statement. “The ruling by the district court is disappointing but not unexpected given the Kansas Supreme Court’s previous ruling in the Montoy case in 2005.  Through today’s ruling, the courts are drastically increasing the property tax burden on every Kansan.  The Kansas Legislature, not the courts, has the power of the purse and has, in fact, increased total state funding for schools every year during my administration.  The legislative process is the appropriate venue for debating and resolving issues of taxation and spending.”