Kan. Supreme Court to rule on school funding

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TOPEKA, Kan. — College tuition is costing more and more every year for parents and now the Kansas Supreme Court is getting involved.

In the last five years, tuition rates at the University of Kansas jumped 37 percent. Soon students at every public university in Kansas might have to pay more. Some state lawmakers say if the state loses the lawsuit and the court requires it to increase K-12 dollars, places of higher learning like KU Med Center across the state could suffer.

Education makes up about two-thirds of the state’s general budget fund. That represents elementary, secondary, and higher education. How did this get to the Kansas Supreme Court? An appeal was filed after the lower court said the legislature unconstitutionally cut school funding while passing mammoth tax cuts.

According to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Kansas was one of only five states to cut funding to public universities. While they wait on a decision state reps are thinking of ‘what if’ scenarios.

“To suggest that we have to adequately fund elementary education in Kansas at the expense of higher education in Kansas is absurd,” said Rep. John Carmichael, (D) Wichita.

“If it comes out of existing resources then it’s going to have to come from human services, higher education, public safety, transportation or it’ll have to come from some other entity,” said Rep. Steve Brunk, (R) Wichita.

The money has to come from somewhere. From where and how much is yet to be determined pending the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision.

But there’s a good possibility parents and students looking to attend KU Med and other state universities will pay more.

So how did we get here? Ten years ago districts around Kansas sued the state saying they needed more money. That case went to the state supreme court, and ultimately, the courts gave schools more money per student. But a few years ago the state started scaling it back because of the recession.

t went back to court — and now — the state supreme court is taking the case up again.

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