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Kansas Governor Says Work Underway in School Funding Dispute

During a recent press conference, Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said he is working to figure out a plan to address the recent  Kansas Supreme Court ruling that deemed the state's funding formula inequitable, according to the Kansas City Star.  

The court ruled that Brownback's move two years ago to replace the state's funding formula with a block grant formula left the state's districts having to raise local property taxes. The court threatened to shut down the entire public school system if the legislature doesn't come up with a remedy before July 1. 

Brownback said during a press conference Thursday he was meeting with legislators and the state's lawyers over the issue. He estimated that satisfying the court could cost the state $100 million, just "a fraction" of the state's $4 billion education budget, according to a press release by the Kansas Association of School Boards.

"I take (the supreme court) seriously on the issue of equalization," Brownback said. 

Shortly after the ruling, Brownback, along with several Republican legislators, said an "activist court" was attempting to shut down the schools.   

On Thursday, when asked if the court was bluffing, he said, "I'm not going to comment on that." 

The state legislature didn't address the ruling in its most recent revisions of the budget, according to the Kansas City Star.  

"The court's made a ruling, and they put a hard deadline on, it but I think you have to respect the process," Brownback said.

Educators in the state complained that, buried in the budget, the legislature earmarked $50,000 to pay for a lawyer to represent it in future school funding cases.

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