TOPEKA – (March 17, 2015) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday filed a notice of appeal for the Kansas Supreme Court to review a judicial panel’s finding that school funding in Kansas is inadequate.
“We’re headed back to the Supreme Court for further guidance,” Schmidt said. “Unfortunately, we will have to do so without further clarity from the panel.”
In January, Schmidt asked the three-judge judicial panel to provide a more detailed explanation of its conclusion that state funding for public schools was inadequate under the so-called “Rose” standards. While that request for clarification was pending, the state was required by legal deadlines to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, creating uncertainty as to which court had jurisdiction. The Supreme Court later remanded the case to the panel to decide the state’s request for further guidance. Last week, the panel issued an order declining to provide a more detailed analysis of the evidence and the record.
With yesterday’s action, Schmidt has formally filed the notice of appeal that commences the appeal process. With this action, the dispute about the overall adequacy of Kansas education funding will head back to the Supreme Court. A separate ongoing challenge by the plaintiffs to the panel’s finding that the state’s school funding system is equitable remains pending before the panel.
The panel last week scheduled a May 7 hearing on the plaintiff school districts’ request to find the distribution of school funding inequitable. It is uncertain how the Supreme Court’s schedule for considering the adequacy appeal will fit with the panel’s schedule for considering the equity issues.