education funding

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Gov. Sam Brownback has until Thursday to sign a budget passed by the Kansas Legislature two weeks ago. He'll need to find nearly $200 million in savings in order for the budget to be balanced. One of the options on the table is to cut a portion of spending to the University of Kansas and Kansas State. KMUW's Sean Sandefur sat down with Wichita State President John Bardo to talk funding higher education. 

Wichita Public Schools is not the only district preparing for a possible shutdown due to the pending state Supreme Court decision on school funding: Hutchinson Public Schools also has a plan in place.

The district’s superintendent says a small skeleton crew would be allowed to work to monitor district facilities.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

At a meeting last night, members of the Wichita school board tentatively agreed to look toward finalizing savings for the district by eliminating certain hazardous bus routes and changing the start times for several schools.  KMUW’s Abigail Wilson reports that an additional proposal could change the calendar for the next school year and possibly outsource custodial services. 

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

Without a constitutionally equitable school finance system, public schools across Kansas will not be able to operate beyond June 30. That’s because of a state Supreme Court ruling requiring legislators to make funding more equitable between school districts. Hearings on the matter are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

The Board of Education for Wichita Public Schools met Monday night and discussed the potential shutdown.

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether lawmakers have done enough to reduce funding disparities among school districts. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, a ruling against the state will likely bring lawmakers back to Topeka for more work.

Alex Starr, flickr Creative Commons

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a law signed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback last week satisfies the state's constitutional duty to provide equitable funding to public schools.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Schmidt filed a brief with the state Supreme Court on Friday urging it to withdraw its threat to close the state's schools.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in a school funding lawsuit. At issue is whether Kansas lawmakers have complied with a previous ruling that says funding disparities need to be reduced.

Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick says he isn’t planning on waiting for the ruling before ending the session. He believes legislators helped reduce disparities when they redistributed school funding.

“I think we’ve done our job. I think it’s a good bill. Is equity ever going to be solved? I don’t think you can ever solve equity,” Merrick says.

J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Supreme Court has set a hearing for May 10 on a school funding plan aimed at reducing disparities between school districts.

Justices have threatened to close schools if the issue isn’t resolved by this summer. The date of the hearing might mean it isn’t fully settled by the time lawmakers want to end the session.

The so-called veto session starts the last week of April and traditionally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a decision following the hearing could come quickly because justices seem to be working fast.

Alex Starr, flickr Creative Commons

The back-and-forth discussion about school funding in the state of Kansas has been, without a doubt, confusing. Last week, Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that lawmakers hope will fix a major problem in education financing. But how could that bill affect students in Wichita? And what does it mean for the future of education funding in Kansas?

Sam Zeff / KCUR

A new school funding formula for Kansas schools that would replace the current block grant scheme was filed just under the wire last month before lawmakers adjourned for a month-long recess.

Whether that bill passes or even gets a hearing is in question, but what's not in question is the concern educators and some legislators have about the 98-page bill.

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