school funding

Stephen Koranda / KPR/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.

While most school districts in Kansas prepare for a possible shutdown at the end of the month, educators are looking for some guidance from the state Department of Education (KSDE).       

Everyone is waiting to see whether there will be a special session of the Kansas Legislature to try and fix the inequity between rich and poor districts.

If it’s not fixed by the end of the month, the state Supreme Court has said it will prohibit districts from spending or raising money.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Updated Tuesday, 11:09 a.m.: Gov. Sam Brownback announced on his website that he is calling for a special session "to keep Kansas schools open, despite the Court’s threat to close them."

Kansas Democratic lawmakers are pushing their fellow legislators to call a special session to work on school funding. Generally, only the governor calls a special session, but state law says a petition from two-thirds of lawmakers can force the governor to make that call.


For the first time, someone in leadership in the Kansas Legislature has called for a special session to craft a solution to school funding inequity that will satisfy the state Supreme Court and head off a possible shutdown of schools by month's end.

Rep. Ron Ryckman from Olathe, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, sent a letter addressed to "Colleagues" suggesting now is the time to act.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall says it’s important for each of the state’s governmental branches to remain respectful. He said this as the issue of public school funding continues to play out over the next few weeks.

On Tuesday, State Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce told the Associated Press that Kansas Supreme Court Justices have “gone out of their way to pick a fight.” It was in reference to the state’s highest court deciding that an attempt by the Legislature to make school funding more equitable wasn’t good enough.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The final day of the Kansas legislative session is often nothing more than a formality--but this year, a legal fight over school funding forced Kansas lawmakers to meet and consider how to respond.

Updated Wednesday, 1:56 p.m.: Lawmakers dropped their push to try to pass a new school funding fix before the end of the 2016 session.

Original story:

Many Republican legislators are serious about defying a recent Kansas Supreme Court order on education funding and ready to test whether the justices would not allow public schools to open for the new academic year, the Senate's majority leader said Tuesday.

Now that the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the Legislature failed to fix inequity, school districts must seriously plan for a possible shut down on June 30.

Here's some questions school officials and parents may be asking.

Are the schools really going to close on June 30?

el Neato / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers will have to try again to make the school finance system equitable by June 30 or face a statewide shutdown. On Friday, the state Supreme Court struck down the latest legislation, ruling the funding formula was unconstitutional. For Wichita Public Schools, what happens next is all about timing.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle says lawmakers won't attempt this week to address the state Supreme Court's most recent ruling on education funding.

The Wichita Republican issued a statement Tuesday saying the state's attorneys have not had enough time to analyze the decision.

Lawmakers reconvene Wednesday to formally adjourn their annual session.

Wagle said she's consulted with Republican House Speaker Ray Merrick and GOP Gov. Sam Brownback about Friday's court decision and they've agreed on taking no action yet.

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