TOPEKA – (May 27, 2016) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt this evening issued the following statement in response to the latest school finance decision, Gannon v. Kansas, announced by the Kansas Supreme Court just before 5 p.m. today:
“In its latest decision, the Kansas Supreme Court concluded the Legislature has cured the constitutional infirmities in the capital outlay funding system. But the Court once again rejected the Legislature’s good faith efforts to cure what the Court identified as constitutional inequities in equalization aid for local option budgets.
“To put the current situation in context, the State of Kansas annually spends roughly $4 billion on K-12 public schools with another $2 billion coming from federal aid and local revenues. At most, what remains at issue in this case is less than $40 million, possibly much less. This struggle between the Court and the Legislature is now narrowly focused on less than 1 percent of the overall school budget.
“I am distressed that the strain and uncertainty caused by this dispute persist even though more than 99 percent of the school-funding system for next year has been approved and accepted by both the Court and the Legislature. The Legislature specifically asked the Court to sever and disable only that part of the school funding system that the Court thinks remains out of compliance, but the Court instead chose to strike down the entire funding system.
“All agree that Kansas schools, teachers, parents and kids need certainty that schools will open next fall, but today’s decision undermines that objective. There is no good reason a Court order about less than 1 percent of the education budget should close the schools.”