Kansas Judge Strikes Down PJ Pick Law
September 2, 2015

(AP) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a judge’s ruling striking down an administrative policy for the state’s courts could jeopardize their funding.

But Schmidt said Wednesday that he’ll move to keep the courts open.

Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks ruled unconstitutional a law changing how chief judges for the trial courts pick judges in the state’s 31 judicial districts. Hendricks said the law interferes with the Kansas Supreme Court’s power to oversee the judiciary.

Lawmakers earlier this year tied the judiciary’s entire budget to preserving the policy.

The law says judges in each judicial district pick their chief judges, taking that power from the Supreme Court.

District Judge Larry Solomon of Kingman County challenged the statute. Attorney Pedro Irigonegaray said another lawsuit would be filed to protect funding for the courts

Kansas Legislatures Resume Work on School Funding Plan
March 24, 2014

(AP) – Kansas legislative leaders are continuing to work on a school funding measure that would satisfy a state Supreme Court ruling as a major deadline of the 2014 session approaches.

The House was expected to introduce a bill Monday that would increase funding to address two deficiencies deemed unconstitutional by court in its March 7 ruling. The court gave lawmakers until July to resolve issues with aid to poor school districts, a fix that could cost as much as $129 million.

The Legislature begins a three-week break on April 4, increasing the sense of urgency to get a bill passed. House and Senate Republican leaders have been negotiating on a plan.

Ks. Supremes Rule State Under Funds Schools. Comments from Brownback and KCK Superintendent
March 7, 2014

AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court says the state’s current public school funding levels are unconstitutional.

In Friday’s much-anticipated ruling, the court said Kansas’ poor school districts were harmed when the state made the decision to cut certain payments when tax revenues declined during the Great Recession.
The court also sent the case back for more review to determine what the adequate amount of funding should be.

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 on behalf of parents and school districts who argued the state had harmed students because spending cuts resulted in lower test scores.

State attorneys maintained that legislators did their best to minimize cuts to education.

After the ruling came out, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued a statement.
“This is a complex decision that requires thoughtful review. I will have a briefing with the Attorney General and will hold a press conference later today. I will work with leadership in the Kansas Senate and House to determine a path forward that honors our tradition of providing a quality education to every child and that keeps our schools open, our teachers teaching and our students learning.”
The Superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas district, one of the four principal plaintiffs, Cynthia Lane, said the added money her district will receive will allow them to reduce class sizes and improve education in general.
Lane said the ruling was “a great day for Kansas”.
The Associated Press reports an attorney for Kansas parents and school districts suing the state over education funding says the state Supreme Court’s ruling in the case is a victory for children.

Newton attorney John Robb said Friday that he’s pleased with the high court’s ruling. The justices ordered the Legislature to boost two kinds of aid to school districts by July 1.

It returned the case to Shawnee County District Court for more hearings on how much total aid the state must provide to ensure that all children have an adequate education