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Kansas high court: School funding unconstitutional

March 8, 2014 • National News


FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2014 photo kindergarten students run during a physical education class at Frank Rushton Elementary School, which has a high percentage of poor/at-risk kids, in Kansas City, Kan. On Friday, March 7, 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state’s current public school funding levels are unconstitutional and the state’s poor school districts were harmed when the is made the decision to cut certain payments when tax revenues declined during the Great Recession. (AP Photo/John Hanna, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas must spend more money on its public schools, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday in a decision that could jeopardize Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desire to make his state a tax-cutting template for the nation.

The high court’s ruling, which found that Kansas’ school funding isn’t constitutional, came in a 2010 lawsuit filed by parents and school districts. Instead of balking, Brownback and other leaders of the state’s GOP-dominated government said they were pleased because the decision stopped short of telling legislators exactly how much the state must spend on its schools overall, leaving that responsibility to a lower court.

“It was not an unreasonable decision,” Senate President Susan Wagle said. Republican leaders also believe the court left the Legislature substantial leeway in providing adequate aid to poor school districts and pledged to get it done before the session adjourns in late April or early May.

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