District Court Says Kansas School Budget is Unconstitutional


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s plan to cut his way out of budget holes generated by his signature tax cuts hit a snag this week as the Shawnee County District Court ruled that the state’s education budget was “inadequate” under the state constitution.

From The Wichita Eagle

It falls short of the “Rose standards” – outlined in a Kentucky case and adopted by courts across the country – that say students should get an adequate opportunity to learn language skills, social studies, health and other subjects so they can grow up to function in and contribute to society, the judges said.

“We find the Kansas public education financing system – through structure and implementation – is not presently reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the Rose factors,” the Shawnee County District Court panel concluded in Gannon v. Kansas. “It is inadequate from any rational perspective of the evidence presented or proffered to us.”

The court reportedly suggested that the state legislature increase the amount of aide the state provides to schools on a per-student basis and the attorney representing the school districts which sued the state predicts that plugging the hole would cost “between $548 million and $771 million” per year.

That’s an unfortunately high number for Governor Sam Brownback because his signature tax cuts are projected to create a revenue shortfall of $1 billion over the next two years and it could be even worse than that.

Brownback and the state legislature have already drawn up plans to cut the state budget to plug a $280 million hole for the current fiscal year.

Under the Brownback plan, the state will cut taxes each year between now and 2018.