Kansas school funding court case continues

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Plaintiffs in the ongoing Kansas school finance lawsuit have told the state Supreme Court that reading and math test scores in Kansas show the state is failing to fund its public schools adequately.

Attorneys for the state counter that funding is at record levels and all schools are meeting state accreditation standards, and a court order for additional funding would be "a flagrant violation of the separation of powers."

Both sides in the dispute filed briefs with the court Friday, the Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://j.mp/2bizZeb ).

The four plaintiff school districts point to recent scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress that show minority students and students from lower-income households consistently score lower than white and upper-income students, and that the disadvantaged groups are falling further behind in some cases.

Attorneys for the state, however, contend in their brief that current public school funding is at "record" levels and that all schools are currently accredited, which means they must be providing all of the required services.

"The Plaintiff Districts have not met their heavy burden of proving that current funding is constitutionally inadequate," Kansas Solicitor General Stephen McAllister wrote in the state's brief.

Kansas will spend just over $4.5 billion from all funding sources, including $3.1 billion from the state general fund, for public schools this year. That makes K-12 education the single largest category of state spending, accounting for half of all general fund spending.

The Supreme Court could have a lot to say about the formula used to fund Kansas schools and how much money needs to go into it when it weighs the two sides' arguments and rules on the lawsuit later this year. Oral arguments are set for Sept. 21.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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