TOPEKA – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued the following statement in response to the school-finance decision made by the Kansas Supreme Court on March 2, in Gannon v. Kansas:
“The Kansas Supreme Court today ruled that the block-grant funding system currently in place violates the Kansas Constitution and must soon be replaced by a constitutional funding formula. The court adopted the deadline of June 30, 2017, a date previously established by the Legislature when it adopted the block grants almost two years ago. That deadline must be met.
“I urge the Legislature to enact a new school-funding system before it adjourns the 2017 regular session and with ample time for the Supreme Court to review the new enactment well before the June 30 deadline. Lengthy delay would impose needless strain and uncertainty on parents, students and school employees.
“In developing the new formula to fund public schools, the Legislature must take into account the many complex factors that affect student performance. Today’s ruling implies that the main focus needs to be on better educating those kids who are performing most poorly. In developing the new formula, the Legislature should once again ‘show its work’ to demonstrate to the Supreme Court how the legislative choices are reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed performance standards adopted by the Supreme Court.
“The people’s elected representatives in the Legislature face difficult decisions in the coming weeks. In addressing the system’s adequacy, the Legislature must take care to preserve the equity in distribution of funds that the court previously upheld.
“One thing is clear: The State’s interest in bringing this litigation to an end can best be met by a bold legislative response, enacted swiftly, squarely targeting the constitutional defects the court identified.”