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Kansas High Court Judges Skeptical of New Funding Formula

Kansas' supreme court justices during a hearing Tuesday expressed skepticism that the state's new funding formula could improve student outcomes. 

The judges will decide in the coming weeks whether the funding formula is constitutional in providing public school students an adequate education. If they declare the formula unconstitutional, the state's legislature would have to hold a special session to keep school funding flowing this coming school year. 

In its Gannon v. Kansas decision, the high court decided earlier this year that the state has not provided sufficient money for its public school districts to help enough students meet basic standards. 

The legislature answered the ruling with a new funding formula that would increase school funding by $395 million over the next two years. The state's school board and the plaintiffs' lawyers have instead asked for $900 million over two years.  

The state argued during today's hearing that, because the new funding formula includes several provisions for school improvement, the judges should wait several years to see whether student outcomes improve.  

"This just looks like deja vu all over again," Justice Dan Biles said, referring to prior school funding rulings.

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