Legislators seeking answers in how to address school finance ruling

Legislators are seeking answers in how to address the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling that the new school finance system is unconstitutional.

After a briefing on the ruling Thursday to the Legislative Budget Committee, Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Assaria, said it appeared the state must raise taxes, make cuts, or a combination of both to comply with the court’s ruling.

While the options seem daunting, Johnson said he believes neither the Legislature nor court “desire to close schools.”

The court on Monday released its opinion that the school finance law approved by the Legislature earlier this year fails to satisfy the adequacy and equity components of the Kansas Constitution.

The court gave the Legislature until April 30 to provide legal briefs on a legislative remedy. The court said it would decide the case by June 30.

Jason Long, with the Office of Revisor of Statutes, said the Legislature has a “myriad of options” in addressing the court ruling. When asked what the court could do if the Legislature failed to compose an acceptable fix within the deadline, Long said he needed to study the issue further.

LBC Chairman Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, said legislators need more time to review the ruling. Long said he would provide a more in-depth memo on the opinion by the LBC’s next meeting, which is tentatively set for Nov. 8.


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