Kansas Supreme Court

kslegislature.org

As Kansas legislators prepared to head back to Topeka for a special session, KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc sat down with two local lawmakers to talk about the subject of the session: school funding.   

Christopher Sessums, flickr Creative Commons

Representatives of five school boards in Shawnee County are asking Kansas lawmakers for a quick resolution to the school funding dispute.

Patrick Woods, president of the Topeka Public Schools Board of Education, says they want lawmakers to go back to the old formula for reducing certain disparities among districts. That will cost nearly $40 million.

The Vice President of the Kansas Senate says the special session set to gavel in on Thursday will probably stretch into early next week. That would move the Legislature even closer to a June 30 school shutdown deadline, and make the session longer than Gov. Sam Brownback suggested it would take to fix the inequity that exists between rich and poor school districts in Kansas.

alamosbasement, flickr Creative Commons

The clock is ticking for Kansas lawmakers to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling. The court says if lawmakers haven't reduced inequalities by the end of the month, schools could be closed.

Legislators are considering how to respond, and as Stephen Koranda reports, one disagreement is whether wealthier districts should be protected from losing any state aid.

    

A so-called hold harmless provision would make sure no Kansas school district loses overall state support. Republican Rep. Erin Davis calls the issue vitally important for her area of Johnson County.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas legislators hoped to settle on a proposed constitutional amendment Friday that would curb the power of the courts following a recent Supreme Court mandate to change the way public schools are funded.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A former Kansas House Speaker told state lawmakers to fight back against a court ruling over school funding. The state Supreme Court says lawmakers must reduce funding disparities among school districts or schools could close.

Former Republican Rep. Mike O’Neal didn’t tell Kansas legislators directly to defy the court, he said they should respond. But he said they could point to state law passed years ago saying the court can’t close schools.

J. Stephen Conn, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers may comply with a court ruling over school funding, but they could also take a swipe at the courts in the process.

Legislators want to avoid a school shutdown in a legal fight over school funding, but Gov. Sam Brownback and some other legislators aren’t happy with the Kansas Supreme Court ruling on the matter.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is already looking ahead to next year’s legislative session, just days before lawmakers are set to meet for a special session.

The governor told Topeka radio station WIBW this week that he wants to put an end to what he says is a decades-long battle over school funding.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers will begin committee meetings next week in advance of a special session focused on school funding issues. The committees could discuss a constitutional amendment that would block the courts from shutting down schools during funding disputes.

The state is currently involved in a legal fight over school funding. The Kansas Supreme Court has said if it isn’t fixed by the end of the month, the funding system will be unconstitutional and schools could be closed.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Update via AP Wednesday, 10:06 a.m.: Gov. Sam Brownback is preparing to set the date for a special session of the Kansas Legislature on school funding.

The Republican governor plans to sign a proclamation Wednesday afternoon formally calling the GOP-dominated Legislature into special session.

He wants lawmakers to respond to a state Supreme Court order last month declaring that public schools won't be able to open after June 30 if legislators don't rewrite school finance laws.

The court rejected some changes made earlier this year in how Kansas distributes more than $4 billion a year in aid to its 286 local school districts.

The justices said education funding remains unfair to poor districts. Many Republicans have strongly criticized the ruling, and some have wanted to defy the court.

Lawmakers adjourned their annual session June 1.

Original story:

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he will call state lawmakers back to Topeka for a special session to work on school funding issues. In a statement, Brownback said he made the decision after consulting with legislative leaders.

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