AG files appeal to Kansas Supreme Court in school finance lawsuit

Kansas Attorney General Derick Schmidt
Kansas Attorney General Derick Schmidt (KSN File Photo)

TOPEKA, Kansas – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today filed the State’s formal appeal with the Kansas Supreme Court in the school finance litigation.

Back on December 30, 2014, the three judge panel declared in its ruling that the state’s current funding is “inadequate from any rational perspective of the evidence.”

“Since the obligations here declared emanate from our Kansas Constitution, avoidance is not an option,” the judges said.

The panel did not set a specific figure for what is adequate, but said the evidence suggests it should be at least $548 million more a year, or $4,654 per student in base state aid — and possibly much higher.

USD 259 School Board President Sheril Logan says the attorney generals appeal doesn’t come as a surprise.

“The state had sort of hinted that it was ruled against them they would appeal, so no I’m not really surprised,” said Logan.

While it didn’t come as a surprise, Logan says she was sad to hear of the announcement.

“Every study that has been made, including two that the legislature has done, every court that has ruled have all said that schools need more money,” said Logan.

In his appeal, Attorney General Schmidt brings up several issues.

He says the three-judge panel that handed down the decision in December didn’t consider the money schools get from other resources, like federal funding.

Also, Schmidt added that same panel should have taken into consideration the reserve funds school districts have and why they don’t use that money.

Logan says districts do receive some federal funding, but, that’s used for underpriviledged children and children with special needs.

“We do receive money from federal funding, but the state’s obligation is what they’re considering and does the state give enough money to the schools and the answer has been no consistently,” said Logan.

Recently, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced additional cuts to education funding in Kansas admidst a serious budget shortfall in Topeka.

The attorney general released the following statement:

Today, our office has filed with the Kansas Supreme Court the formal paperwork to docket the State’s appeal of the three-judge panel’s December 30, 2014, school finance ruling. This completes the formal legal request for the Supreme Court to review the panel’s decision, which we think is legally flawed and inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s prior instruction. We will brief our arguments more fully in the course of the appeal.”

RELATED LINK | Kansas Supreme Court Appeal

Click on the document below to read the appeal

Supreme Court School Finance

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