Issues, Kansas

Interesting to see this coming up in the news again, especially after the legislature took action to correct the matter after the initial ruling.

“Acting on earlier direction from the state Supreme Court, the Shawnee County District Court panel concluded that current funding falls short of what are called the “Rose standards,” a multi-part test for adequacy of school spending outlined in a Kentucky case and adopted by courts across the country.” Court rules school funding is inadequate under Kansas Constitution, The Wichita Eagle

For those unfamiliar, with regard to the constitutional requirements of the state in matters of educational funding, the Kansas constitution states:

The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state. Article 6, Section 6, part B

The “educational interests of the state” are then further outlined in KSA 72-1127. It’s a fairly complicated entanglement of principles, made more difficult since the base cost to accomplish those goals has no definite number (what the court calls a “bright line”). But as such, the courts stopped short of actually telling the legislature how much they had to fund, and only declared that the current funding levels clearly cannot satisfy KSA 72-1127.

The real struggle that’s interesting is finding where that balance is between being flat out underfunded, and just being asked to create new efficiencies which tighter budgets. Obviously it’s not a bad thing to evaluate if we’re overpaying for educational outcomes. It’s tough though when there isn’t so much a line in the sand, as you’re just dealing with a zone that encompasses the whole beach.

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