Wichita school officials react to court ruling

Caroline Beck
March 4, 2017

The court said $511 million was denied schools from the Montoy settlement, when the state started base state aid per pupil.

"I think it's a wonderful day for education in Kansas".

Also, when the Montoy v.

A similar situation occurred in 2016 when the court ruled a portion of the state's block grant funding system was unconstitutional and gave the same June 30 deadline. "That doesn't do a thing to correct what the Supreme Court is asking for". Two senior judges, Michael Malone and David Stutzman, sat in for Supreme Court Justices Carol Beier and Caleb Stegall.

Justices said the plaintiffs provided convincing evidence connecting school funding with student performance, and 2015-16 academic results show almost half of all black students in Kansas and more than one-third of students considered low-income do not meet grade-level proficiency standards in reading and math.

Dollars 251 Superintendent Aron Dody is relieved there is a ruling. The spokeswoman, Morgan Said, said Wagle will form the committee once the Legislature passes a balanced budget.

The plaintiff districts' case, which was argued in court last September, centers on two questions: equity, which is about the way the money is distributed; and adequacy, which asks whether the amount budgeted is enough for the state to fulfill its duties to provide K-12 public education.

"The lawsuit was about how the formula wasn't funded", attorney John Robb said. As the Wichita Eagle reports, the court's statement found the state's "block grants" to be inadequate to properly fund public schools. Legislators are eyeing another multi-year solution. "We've heard ideas", said Rep. Fred Patton (R-Topeka). She is the mother of four children aged 8 to 22.

"To get a bill out of committee is problem one", Rooker said.

Legislators are now on a short break but will return to session Monday.

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Those block grants are set to expire on July 1. The court's decision eliminates that option.

The court said the state isn't adequately funding its schools and lawmakers must enact a new education funding law by June 30.

At that time, the state must demonstrate to the court that the formula addresses the constitutional violations, and complies with the court's previous equity mandates.

The Legislature is slated to finish its regular session by April 7 and likely will revisit the issue of an income tax hike. The tax plan was crafted for Brownback by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The House overrode the veto, but the Senate fell short of an override.

Saline County school superintendents said the decision didn't come as a shock.

The state spends more than half its tax dollars, or almost $4.1 billion under the current budget, on aid to its 286 local school districts, for an average of about $8,900 per student.

"The Kansas Supreme Court correctly observes that our education system has failed to provide a suitable education for the lowest performing 25 percent of students".

"Furthermore, the time has come to equip parents of struggling students with the power they need to determine the best education for their child. If they believe a quality education is not possible in their local public school, they should be given the opportunity and resources to set their child up for success through other educational choices". With a high poverty rate and a high number of bilingual students, Emporia has several areas of concern that they will be keeping an eye on as the new funding formula develops.

In Wichita, community activist Djuan Wash pointed to the court's finding that a significant percentage of minority students aren't proficient in reading and math. More than a third of students who receive free and reduced lunch are also not proficient in those essential subjects, the court said. "Plaintiffs have also proven by substantial competent evidence that the student performance reflected in this data is related to funding levels".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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