Legislative Information

To keep our parents, students, staff, and patrons informed of issues regarding school finance, we have created this Legislative Information page.  It is important that we, as a community, continue to educate ourselves about the issues involved in funding education locally and statewide to ensure the best futures for our students.

Updates on School Funding

Kansas Supreme Court Decision on Gannon VI School Finance

Posted Monday, June 25, 2018

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The Supreme Court of the State of Kansas released on Monday, June 25, its decision in the Gannon VI school finance case.  “We appreciate the court’s careful and thoughtful deliberation,” said Dr. Cynthia Lane, superintendent of schools. “This is a significant step forward for the education of Kansas children,” said Lane.

Among the decisions of the court today are the following:

  • Equity has been addressed, meaning that all children deserve equality of opportunity and all tax payers deserve similar tax effort to support schools.
  • Adequacy remains unconstitutional, meaning we continue to lack enough funding to support education after the 2018-19 school year. To reach adequacy, we will need additional funding that will account for inflation. As an example, the court pointed to the 2009 school year as a time when funding was adequate and students were progressing. Looking at the funding levels during that time with consideration of inflation may get us to adequate funding levels in future years.
  • The court did find that the funding allocated for the 2018-19 school year met minimum requirements.
  • Kansas schools will remain open for the 2018-19 school year because the funding meets adequate funding criteria.
  • The court will retain jurisdiction as a result of the problems with adequacy.
  • Deadline for the state to submit a remedy for the adequacy requirement is April 15, 2019. The Supreme Court Hearing is scheduled for May 9, 2019.

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“Overall, today’s decision is great news for KCKPS and all schools in Kansas as it validates the hard work to make sure we have the necessary funding to ensure students are successful,” said Dr. Cynthia Lane, superintendent of schools. “Students and families can look forward to the opening of the school year as scheduled and our staff and the board can move forward with planning for the upcoming school year.”

Click here to read the decision.

Click below to view a portion of a news interview with Dr. Lane regarding the Supreme Court decision:

 

February 12, 2018

The 2018 Kansas legislative session has begun, and as usual, we can expect the debate over school funding to be a primary focus of the Legislature. Unfortunately, and this is also not unusual for this Legislature, the debate over school funding will probably be delayed until the very last possible minute, minimizing the opportunities for public input, and increasing the likelihood that whatever is finally passed will be inadequate to support the educational needs of all Kansas children. 

In October, 2017, the Kansas Supreme Court again declared school funding in Kansas inadequate, while also noting that changes inserted into the new funding formula last Spring violated the equity requirements of the Kansas Constitution. The Kansas State Department of Education believes that it will take a little more than $800 million a year in additional money to reach the goals of the new Kansans Caninitiative, and a consensus seems to be forming in Topeka that at least an additional $600 million will be necessary to meet the adequacy requirement of Article VI of the Kansas Constitution.

The Kansas Supreme Court has set an April 30, 2018 deadline for the State to pass legislation to meet the adequacy requirements of the Constitution, and for both sides in the school funding case to prepare their briefs (arguments) for the court. Attorney General Derick Schmitt, who is responsible for arguing the state’s case in front of the court, told the Legislature that he needed to have legislation passed by March 1, in order to have time to adequately prepare briefs to support the state’s case. 

With that said, you might expect the Legislature to be hard at work, drafting legislation to meet the demands of the Constitution. If you did, you would be sadly disappointed. What the Legislature HAS done is to commission a study of school finance, to be completed by a researcher out of Texas. The scheduled completion date for that study is March 15, 2018. This will give the Legislature three weeks before the end of the regular session on April 6, 2018 to solve the school funding crisis. 

So, obviously, time will be a significant obstacle in the way of solving the school finance challenges in Kansas. Another will be Legislative leadership, which to this point has indicated no interest in providing additional money for schools, to meet the requirements of the constitution. The study they commissioned is expected to provide support for their arguments, since the researcher they hired has consistently come up with a relatively low number for funding, particularly for districts like KCK, who serve large numbers of At-Risk students. 

What most observers expect is that about a week before the April 6 end of the regular session, leadership will magically produce a school finance bill which, supported by the results of the “study” they commissioned, will provide a little additional money for schools, but nothing close to what the Supreme Court is expected to require to solve adequacy. Leadership will insist that, given the time remaining in the session, that this bill is the “only train leaving the station,” and they will push hard to force it through. Whether they will be able to muster the votes to succeed with that strategy remains to be seen, and may be somewhat dependent on the pressure they receive from supporters of public schools.

Unfortunately, this strategy will necessarily provoke a confrontation with the Supreme Court, and will increase the possibility that the Legislature will fail to come up with a constitutional funding formula. Without a constitutional funding formula, schools would be forced to shut down in early July.

Of course, much of this is speculation at this point, and we are in the early innings of what promises to be a very long game. We will continue to update you, and will let you know when it will be important to add your voice to the conversation, especially with the legislators who represent you. Meanwhile, keep focused on the work you are doing, because you are changing the lives of kids, and that is what we are all fighting for!

David A. Smith

Chief of Public Affairs

Latest Supreme Court decision, Gannon v. State of Kansas (re: adequacy) (PDF - 10/2/17)

KCKPS at the Capitol

Click below for copies of our testimony on state education bills.

Education Legislation and Our Testimony - 2015-16 School Year

Public Comment on Potential School Funding Changes in Response to the May 27, 2016, Gannon Order - Comment by David A. Smith (PDF copy - 6/23/16)

Public Comment on Public School Funding Changes in Response to the May 27, 2016, Gannon Order - Comment by David A. Smith (PDF copy - 6/16/16)

Ways and Means Committee Follow-Up from Dr. Cynthia Lane (PDF copy - 4/18/16)

HB 2740 (read the bill here) - Testimony from Dr. Cynthia Lane (PDF copy - 3/23/16)

SB 505 (read the bill here) - Testimony from David A. Smith (PDF copy -3/11/16)

SB 515 (read the bill here) - Testimony from Dr. Cynthia Lane (PDF copy -3/23/16)

Education Legislation and Our Testimony - 2014-15 School Year

HB 2170 (read the bill here) - Testimony from Bill Reardon (PDF copy - 3/11/15)

HB 2393 (read the bill here) - Testimony from Dr. Kelli Mather (PDF copy - 3/5/15)

HB 2403 (read the bill here) - Testimony from Dr. Cynthia Lane (PDF copy - 3/9/15)

SB 273 (read the bill here) - Testimony from Dr. Cynthia Lane (PDF copy - 3/10/15)

SB 294 (read the bill here) - Testimony from Dr. Cynthia Lane (PDF copy - 3/24/15)

Legislative Goals

Click the image below for a PDF Version of our legislative goals.

2016 legislative goals

Wyandotte County Legislators:

Click on the legislator's name to open his/her webpage at www.kslegislature.org.

Dist. Title Name Address Phone (913)
4 Senator David Haley 936 Cleveland Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101
321-3210
5 Senator Pat Pettey 5316 Lakewood St.
Kansas City, KS 66106
 
6 Senator Steve Fitzgerald 3100 Tonganoxie Rd.
Leavenworth, KS 66048
 
37 Repre. Stan Frownfelter 4527 Gibbs Road
Kansas City, KS 66106
262-9659
31 Repre. Louis Ruiz 2914 W. 46th Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66103
262-1634
33 Repre. Tom Burroughs 3131 S. 73rd Ter.
Kansas City, KS 66106
375-1956
34 Repre. Valdenia Winn PO Box 12327
Kansas City, KS 66112
 
35 Repre. Broderick Henderson 2710 North 8th St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
342-2614
36 Repre. Kathy Wolfe Moore 3209 North 131st St.
Kansas City, KS 66109
314-0878
32 Repre. Pam Curtis 322 N. 16th St.
Kansas City, KS 66102
626-0404
39 Repre. Charles Macheers 21704 W. 57th Terr.
Shawnee, KS 66218
396-9662

A complete list of legislators for the state of Kansas is available at www.kslegislature.org