The Supreme Court of Kansas has issued a ruling in the Gannon school finance lawsuit late this afternoon. Usually rulings are released by about 9:30 on Friday mornings.
The ruling, which we are still reviewing, finds that the equity bill passed by the Kansas Legislature during this year’s legislative session meets the requirement for providing equity within capital outlay but does not meet the equity requirement within the local option budget (LOB) and supplemental general state aid.
The Court also finds that the LOB and supplemental general state aid are not severable from the block grant funding bill known as the Classroom Learning Assuring Student Success Act (CLASS Act). For this reason, the CLASS Act block grant funding scheme is effectively unconstitutional.
It does not appear that the Court is giving the state any time beyond the June 30 deadline to solve the problem.
It is most certain that this will be a focus of legislators under the dome during the sine die session which is normally just a ceremonial event.
KNEA has long held that it is the responsibility of the Kansas Legislature to fulfill its constitutional obligation to fund public schools equitably and adequately. We continue to call on the Kansas Legislature to meet its constitutional obligation so that public schools will be open as expected this coming fall.
KNEA’s Governmental Relations and Legal staff are reviewing the decision and will have a more comprehensive update next week.
In the meantime, watch your local press reports, look for more information from KNEA, and read the opinion for yourself at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2016/20160527/113267.pdf