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KS Supreme Court says minorities and low-income students have been affected most by lack of funding

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Schools on the Kansas side are about to get a lot more money.

The State Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Kansas has not funded schools the way they should and says the kids have suffered.

School leaders say budget cuts over the past few years have forced them to let go of teachers, which in turn has increased class sizes. And because of that, many kids struggling in the classroom have not been getting the instruction they need to learn.

According to the Kansas Supreme Court, minorities and low-income students have been affected the most. There are 15,000 or nearly one half of all African-American students, along with 33,000, or more than one-third of all Hispanic students who are not proficient in reading and math. Neither are one-third of all students on free or reduced lunch.

"There are kids that need a lot of support, and if we have people and resources, so that would be one of the first things we would look at being able to do," Meadows Elementary principal Nicole Johnson said.

Seven years ago, KCK schools and three other school districts filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming they were not giving them enough money to properly educate kids.

"I have less people who are able to help kids who are not at grade level with some of their academic areas," Johnson added.

In their ruling, the justices did not give an exact amount of money needed to satisfy this decision. But state attorneys believe lawmakers will have to give schools around $800-million more per year.

"I feel like I stretch people further trying to do more with less and it's harder on staff and they are stressed out, it's tough but we still have to provide for kids," Johnson said.

Kansas is already facing a $1-billion deficit over the next two years, so where will the money come from?

The court is giving lawmakers until the end of June to increase state funding by hundreds of millions of dollars – otherwise, they’ll be held in contempt of court.


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