Kansas Supreme Court rules new school finance formula is unconstitutional

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday the state’s new school finance system violates the Kansas Constitution.

The decision, released Monday afternoon, found the state had failed to meet the adequacy and equity requirements of the Constitution, but does not detail a specific dollar amount to reach constitutional muster.

Monday’s decision, the latest stage of the Gannon v. Kansas school finance case, sends the issue back to the Legislature.

Four school districts, including Kansas City, Kan., sued the state in 2010 for more education funding, contending that the state was failing to meet a constitutional requirement for suitable funding.

Lawmakers struggled to pass a new school finance formula during the 2017 session in light of a March ruling from the state’s high court that Kansas had failed to ensure adequate funding for public schools.

Both the Senate and the House were able to pass the formula late in the session, but it came over vocal objections from leading Democrats about the level of funding in the bill.

Attempts by Democrats to pump more money into the formula failed.

The new formula adds a net of roughly $488 million over two years, funds all-day kindergarten and adds early childhood funding.

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