school funding

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.

Stephen Koranda file photo

Kansas lawmakers return to Topeka Wednesday for what was supposed to be the last day of the legislative session. However, the state Supreme Court ruled late Friday that lawmakers haven’t done enough to reduce funding disparities among school districts. That means there’s likely more work ahead for the Legislature.

Lawmakers shuffled school spending to reduce disparities, but the court says that didn’t fix the issue and in some ways made it worse. Justices say they’ll close Kansas schools if there isn’t a solution by the end of June.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court has handed down its decision in the long-awaited Gannon school funding case, and it comes as no surprise to those who have followed its many twists and turns.

“This case requires us to determine whether the State has met its burden to show that recent legislation brings the State's K-12 public school funding system into compliance with Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution,” the court wrote in an opinion not attributable to any individual judge. “We hold it has not.”

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Wichita Public School teachers and other certified staff and faculty have voted to shorten the upcoming academic year and lengthen school days by 30 minutes. The change is needed in order to trim about $3 million from the district’s budget.

The United Teachers of Wichita, a teachers union, reports that out of the 4,045 votes that were cast, nearly 69 percent voted to amend Wichita Public School’s calendar.

Students will now attend 158 days next year instead of 173. Teachers will work 175 days instead of 190.

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