Wichita — Today the Supreme Court ruled that two pieces of state aid under the current block grant funding for Kansas schools are inequitably distributed and threatened the Kansas Legislature with closing schools June 30th should they not provide constitutional equity amongst all school districts.
In response to the Supreme Court decision, Kansas Policy Institute issued the following statement:
“The Court has not been shy about playing politics with this decision; threatening to close schools over less than one percent of total funding is absurd. However, the Court gave the Legislature an opportunity to create a new method of distributing capital outlay and supplemental general state aid that meets constitutional equity requirements without necessarily spending more money,” said KPI President Dave Trabert. “The Court reaffirmed that constitutional infirmities ‘can be cured in a variety of ways at the choice of the legislature’ with the proviso that any adjusted funding must also meet a separate test of adequacy — whether districts are receiving ‘enough.’
School funding continues to set new records, topping $6 billion for the first time last year and averaging $13,124 per-pupil.
Trabert concluded, “Equity is a constitutional construct that must (and should be) met, but putting more money into the existing equity system would be a perversion of the concept, as districts in wealthy Johnson County are considered ‘poor’ and in need of extra aid while many small rural districts are considered ‘rich’ and ineligible for extra aid.”