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Kansas Supreme Court Calls Education Funding Block Grant System Unconstitutional

The Kansas Supreme court gives lawmakers an ultimatum.

     Equitably fund schools or don't open them in August.

     The Kansas Supreme court rules against the state's current school funding system.

School districts in Kansas receive funding now through block grants instead of a per pupil funding formula.

      The court says that shorted poor school districts like Galena a total of fifty-four million dollars.

     The block grant system was supposed to give lawmakers time to create a new funding formula.

      But the court says block grants left schools under-funded.

     Galena's superintendent Brian Smith says the ruling is good news. 

Smith says, “I’m excited because it’s gonna provide equity in the system that was there with the old formula. And then when they changed to block grant,  it drove up local tax here in our  school district around ten mills and the same for other districts so this is a major win for taxpayers in southeast Kansas." .

     Smith believes the legislature will have to lower per pupil funding but will more evenly distribute dollars.

     The court still needs to address the adequacy of funding for public schools which districts have argued is too low.

Oral arguments on the adequacy portion of the same case are expected this spring. 

     The court will decide whether the state needs to increase total school funding by more than five hundred million dollars.


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