Work Starts On School Funding Constitutional Change

Feb 14, 2013

A Senate committee has started work on a constitutional amendment aimed at blocking lawsuits over school funding.

The committee heard from supporters Wednesday. The proposal would alter the Kansas Constitution to say only the Legislature can set school spending levels.

Lawsuits over school funding have riled up some lawmakers, helping drive the push for the change. Last month, a district court ruled that the state needs to increase school funding, and that’s just the most recent in a series of lawsuits over the issue.

Sen. Steve Abrams, an Arkansas City Republican, says the amendment will make it clear that lawmakers set the level of funding for education, not the courts.

“They do not have the authority to set X amount of dollars, X amount of policy," he says.

Abrams says the courts could still rule that funding levels aren’t constitutional, but they could not attempt to set funding levels.

Opponents of the amendment are scheduled to appear before the committee Thursday.