school funding

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Legislators in Kansas have some big issues on their plate next year. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’re already planning on a long session.

Kansas lawmakers already know they’ll have to balance the state budget. Add into that the huge issue of writing a new school funding formula.

But that’s not all: The Kansas Supreme Court could issue a ruling that says the state has to increase funding for schools by hundreds of millions of dollars, which would further complicate everything.

Abigail Beckman / KMUW/File photo

After months of contention, the local teachers' union and the USD 259 school board have come to a tentative contract agreement for the 2016-17 school year.

The contract contains a compensation package increasing the board of educations monetary contribution by 3.98 percent. Details of the tentative agreement include:

Stephen Koranda

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle and Republican candidates for that chamber have released a series of policy proposals, which include the possibility of amending tax cuts made in recent years.

The plan includes overarching themes on topics such as balancing the budget, writing a new school funding formula and creating fairness in the tax code.

Wagle is working to harness voter frustration with the Legislature and the budget. She's laying out a message aimed squarely at those Kansans.

J. Schafer / KPR

You couldn't have gotten a more different picture of school finance and student success in Kansas than what was heard during two hours of oral arguments Wednesday in the state Supreme Court.

J. Stephen Conn / flickr Creative Commons

A majority of the Kansas Supreme Court's justices were openly skeptical Wednesday of the cash-strapped state's arguments that legislators are spending enough money on public schools to provide a suitable education to every child.

But Justice Dan Biles also suggested that if the court concludes that inadequate funding has allowed some children to fall behind, its order might have to be targeted to helping just them allowing the state to potentially shift funds from programs for gifted students.

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear two hours of oral arguments Wednesday in the Gannon school funding case.

It's hard to imagine an educator, lawmaker or legislative candidate not sitting on the edge of their seat looking for a clue as to how the justices will rule.

Here are some FAQs on the hearing:

So you're telling me the case is still going? Didn't we just have a big Gannon story not long ago?

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in the latest lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether the state is spending enough on schools.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Last month, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback asked for help on how what should be in a new school funding formula. On Thursday, he got some pretty vague suggestions from the state school board association.

Kansas lawmakers threw out the old funding formula last year and legislators will work on a new plan next year. Brownback offered no specifics when he sent a letter around two weeks ago asking for suggestions.

Abigail Beckman

As part of a two-day tour that included stops in Kansas City and Topeka, four former Kansas Governors were in Wichita on Wednesday, and they had strong opinions about conservative efforts to oust some Kansas Supreme Court justices.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Gov. Sam Brownback announced Wednesday that he has reached out to Kansas school districts, boards of education and various education associations asking for input on the state's school funding system.