Plaintiffs Will Use Test Scores to Show Kansas School Funding Is Inadequate
The four districts that have led a fight to reform Kansas' school funding formula will argue next month that state and national test scores prove that school personnel don't have enough money to help its poor and minority students learn the state's own set of standards, according to a brief filed by their lawyers last week.
The state, on the other hand, will argue that they are spending record-breaking amounts of money on their public school system (more than $4 billion), that all of the districts are meeting its own accreditation standards and that the court meddling in how the legislature distributes state revenue would be a "flagrant violation of the separation of powers," according to the Associated Press.
The Gannon v. Kansas case has roiled the state for years after Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, passed through a series of income tax cuts in 2012 and 2013. Earlier this year, the state supreme court told the legislature that unless they make their funding formula more equitable and increase the amount of money they provide to its poorest districts, they will shut down all of the state's schools.
With the equity half of the case resolved, the state's supreme court is expected on Sept. 21 to begin deliberating on how to rule on the adequacy portion of the case. If the state loses the adequacy part of the case, the defendants' lawyers say the legislature will have to provide up to $400 million more to its entire school system.