KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kansas is not spending enough money to properly educate children -- that is the latest decision by the Kansas Supreme Court.
This decision doesn’t affect this school year at all – classes will continue as usual. But Kansas lawmakers have been ordered to give schools millions more dollars by next June or else the courts could shut down every public school district until they do.
Earlier this year, lawmakers agreed to give schools an extra $293-million total over two years. Broken down, schools now receive $4,006 per student. The Kansas Legislative Department, though, argued schools need $4,080 per student to properly educate them - a difference of $74 per student.
That was enough of a difference for the State Supreme Court to once again rule against the state.
Exactly how much more money does the state need to give schools? The Court did not say, and that frustrates lawmakers who say the state doesn’t have enough money coming in to give more to schools.
But many school leaders, including ones here in KCK who are a part of this lawsuit, argue that after cutting budgets for years due to a lack of state funding, they need more money now more than ever. But how much more they’ll get is still up for debate.
Governor Sam Brownback released this statement saying, “Today’s court decision is yet another regrettable chapter in the never ending cycle of litigation over Kansas school funding. The court should not substitute its decision for that of the legislature.”
The court argues declining test scores are proof the state is not spending enough to educate kids. So when the legislature gets back together in January, the clock will be ticking for them to figure out this school funding once and for all.
“It’s a process and we’re going to trust that the process will provide great results for the kids in Kansas,” USD 437 Superintendent Dr. Scott McWilliams said. "We will continue to be patient with school funding and we will follow the upcoming legislative process very closely and see what the future brings."