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Kansas and public education funding

From the New York Times


January 7, 2014

KANSAS, like every state, explicitly guarantees a free public education in its Constitution, affirming America’s founding belief that only an educated citizenry can preserve democracy and safeguard individual liberty and freedom.

And yet in recent years Kansas has become the epicenter of a new battle over the states’ obligation to adequately fund public education. Even though the state Constitution requires that it make “suitable provision” for financing public education, Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican-led Legislature have made draconian cuts in school spending, leading to a lawsuit that now sits before the state Supreme Court. Continue reading

From the Wichita Eagle

The Wichita Eagle reported that in front of a business audience in Wichita, Senate President Susan Wagle called Gov. Sam Brownback a “rock star and personal hero of mine.” She also asked, “Should (the Kansas Supreme Court) be interpreting law?” and “appropriating money?”

Brownback warned that if the state’s Supreme Court justices ruled against the state in the school finance lawsuit brought by several of the state’s school districts, that would trigger a legislative debate on the way justices are selected and suggested the Legislature would work toward creating a constitutional amendment that would be placed in front of voters. Continue reading

Kline’s law license suspended

By The Capital-Journal

In a unanimous decision released Friday, the Kansas Supreme Court indefinitely suspended former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline from practicing law in the state of Kansas.

To read the full story, click here.


Kansas High Court hears school lawsuit arguments

From the Wichita Eagle

TOPEKA — State lawyers told Kansas Supreme Court justices Tuesday that they should leave school funding decisions to the Legislature, while a lawyer for school districts, including Wichita USD 259, said lawmakers can’t be trusted to provide suitable funding as required by the Constitution.

To read more, click here.


Report details dwindling school funding in Brownback’s FY 2015 budget

From the Lawrence Journal World

Report says schools underfunded $657 million in FY 2015

By Peter Hancock
Posted Monday, June 17, 2013

The two-year budget that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law Saturday under-funds Kansas public schools by an estimated $657 million in the second year, according to an analysis by the Kansas State Department of Education.

That’s the difference between how much the legislature approved in various categories of K-12 education spending for fiscal year 2015 and how much is supposed to be spent according to formulas outlined in current law. Continue reading

Brownback wins round one of judicial reform

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, in signing legislation giving the state’s governors more power in the selection of Kansas Court of Appeals‘ judges did not move Kansas away from what he called a flawed system, but instead injected bias and politics into the appointment process.

As a result of lawsuits by several public school systems, the state has been told twice by the Kansas Court of Appeals that the Legislature has not fully funded public education as directed by the state’s funding formula. Brownback and legislators have cried foul, claiming the judges are telling the state how to spend money in violation of the state’s constitution.

The selection of judges had been done through a panel of attorneys and lay people who picked three candidates and then sent the names of those nominees to the governor who then chose one to sit on the Court of Appeals. Continue reading

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