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Kansas Court Rules Portions of State's New Funding Law Unconstitutional

A Kansas court panel struck down key provisions of the state's new school funding formula Friday, saying that the new system was unconstitutional.

The three-judge panel ruled that the new K-12 funding system—which dispensed with the per-pupil formula in favor of a block-grant mechanism—fails to disperse more than $4 billion annually to schools to provide students with a suitable education, according to the Associated Press. 

Arguing that the new formula shortchanged the districts and did not provide adequate funding to educate their students, some districts—including Kansas City, Wichita, Hutchinson, and Garden City—sued to block the law's implementation. They also argued that switching to the block-grant method would hurt programs for poor and minority students.

From The Wichita Eagle (which has a lot more on the ruling):

The court ruled that the bill violates the state constitution "both in regard to its adequacy of funding and in its change of, and in its embedding of, inequities in the provision of capital outlay state aid and supplemental general state aid."

The Associated Press reports that the new funding law, signed in March by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, cut aid to the state's 286 districts in the current school year by $54 million to help balance the state's budget.  

The state is expected to appeal the ruling, according to the AP.

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