school funding

alamosbasement / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the state Supreme Court for an extra 10 days to file part of his legal defense for a new public school funding law because of a flaw in it.

Schmidt filed a request Thursday to have until May 10 to report to the court on how legislators increased education funding.

The court ruled in October that the state's current education funding of more than $4 billion a year is inadequate and gave Schmidt until April 30 to report on how lawmakers responded.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer has signed an education funding bill despite a multi-million dollar flaw in the bill's language.

Because of an accounting error, the bill calls for a $454 million spending increase, which is $80 million less than intended.

The bill is aimed at addressing a state Supreme Court's ruling that funding for schools is inadequate. A lawyer for the school districts that sued the state said the bill doesn't do enough to address that problem.

Kansas Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer wants lawmakers to fix a costly mistake in the school finance bill passed after midnight on the last day of the regular session.

“It needs to be taken care of,” Colyer said Wednesday. “We’ll work with the Legislature on doing that.”

The error — a byproduct of confusion and deal-making in the session’s final hours early Sunday morning —makes re-engineering the state’s school finance formula more difficult than usual.

woodleywonderworks / flickr Creative Commons

Wichita Public Schools' chief financial officer says the Kansas Legislature’s $500 million school funding plan doesn’t make up for years of cuts.

Alex Starr / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas legislators worked late hours through the weekend to pass a new school finance bill, but the effort may not be enough to please the state Supreme Court.

The bill, which passed 21-19 in the Senate early Sunday, calls for an increase of $534 million in school funding to be phased in over a period of five years.

It's too little, too slow, critics say.

Alan Rupe, lead attorney for the school districts that sued the state over funding, said the bill doesn't meet the criteria laid out by the Supreme Court and that more funding is still needed.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Lawmakers may not know for months whether a deal to pump half a billion dollars into schools goes far enough to end seven years of court battles over whether the state shortchanges Kansas children.

If it falls short, the Kansas Supreme Court could call them back to Topeka this summer with yet another ultimatum to send even more money to local districts.

Arm wrestling over a final deal on Kansas school spending begins in earnest Friday after the Senate settled on a figure that’s much lower than the House’s position.

The bill squeaked through after hours of discussion, winning the last vote necessary only after leaders forced lawmakers who initially abstained to weigh in.

Earlier, with the bill’s fate unclear, Republican leaders in the Senate issued stern direction to members of their party. Some were called into a closed-door meeting with Senate President Susan Wagle.

A push to elbow the judiciary out of school spending by rewording the Kansas Constitution cleared a legislative committee Wednesday.

Yet the effort likely won’t get a full House vote this week and could be doomed on a roll call.

It’ll need two-thirds support in both the House and Senate, something that may prove even harder after Democrats and moderate Republicans swept up more seats in the 2016 elections.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File photo

A spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer says he would sign a public school funding plan approved by the Kansas House if lawmakers sent it to him.

Spokeswoman Kara Fullmer made the comment Wednesday after Colyer praised the House proposal to phase in a roughly $520 million increase in education funding over five years.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in October that the state's current education funding of more than $4 billion a year is not sufficient under the state constitution.

Larry Darling, flickr Creative Commons

The Kansas House has had its say on school finance -- putting the ball in the Senate’s court. But Senate leaders say they won’t move forward on increasing K-12 funding to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court without a deal to prevent schools from suing again in the future.

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