SCOTUS Turns Down Shawnee Mission School Case
December 7, 2015

AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an appeal from parents from the Shawnee Mission School District.

The parents asked the court to consider their case challenging a state cap on the amount of local property tax money that the district can spend on education. The court’s decision Monday not to hear the case leaves in place a decision from the U.S. Appeals Court in Denver. The appeals court ruled in June that the federal court couldn’t override the state’s funding plan

At issue is a 2010 lawsuit arguing that the state could not limit local school district funding because it creates a new inequality that punishes school districts. The parents also argued that the funding restrictions violated their federal constitutional rights.

Schools Estimate They Lose $50 Million on Block Grant Plan
March 6, 2015

(AP) – New Kansas Department of Education figures show that public schools would lose a total of $51 million in state aid before the end of June under an education funding plan from Republican leaders.
Figures released Friday show that the total reduction would be 1.5 percent of the general aid districts had been set to receive.
Republican Gov. Sam Brownback already has announced cuts of $28 million in aid to public schools to help balance the budget, and they take effect Saturday.
Department of Education figures released Friday show that the GOP leaders’ plan for overhauling education funding would trim an additional $23 million.
However, GOP leaders have noted that total spending still would remain significantly above the amount for the 2013-14 school year. They released their plan Thursday.

Brownback Cuts School Funds in Budget Deal
February 6, 2015

(AP) – Kansas legislators have approved a stop-gap plan for erasing most of a predicted shortfall in the state’s current budget so bills can be paid on time.

The measure approved Thursday attacks a $344 million deficit projected through June 30 largely by shifting money from highway projects and other special funds to pay for education, social services, prisons and other government programs.

Senators approved the bill, 24-1. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is expected to sign it.

Shortly before the Senate vote, Brownback also announced that he’d cut $45 million worth of funding for higher education and public schools in March, but offered an alternative.

Brownback called on lawmakers to reform portions of the state’s complex schooling funding formula with the next few weeks. he says that would restore the money being cut.

The problems arose after slashing income taxes in 2012 and 2013 to stimulate the economy.

Brownback: I’m Working on $chool Funds & State Pensions
December 10, 2014

(AP) – Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s working on proposals for changing how Kansas distributes aid to public schools and for bolstering the pension system for teachers and government workers.

But the Republican governor provided no details during an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. He said only that his administration is researching options on school funding and pensions.

Brownback’s comments came a day after he outlined a plan for closing a projected $279 million shortfall in the state’s current budget. His plan received bipartisan criticism because he directed the state to divert nearly $41 million from the public pension system.

He said he did so to avoid cutting aid to public schools and higher education spending.

But he also said the state can’t sustain increases this year in education funding.

Kansas Lawmakers Look at $129 Million Increase in School Money
March 25, 2014

(AP) – A Kansas House committee is preparing to take up a proposal from Republican leaders to increase education spending to satisfy a state Supreme Court order.

The plan emerged late Monday after meetings among key House leaders, including Speaker Ray Merrick. The plan would increase spending by $129 million to correct deficiencies flagged by the March 7 court ruling.

The House Appropriations Committee was scheduled to begin working on the bill Tuesday morning. It was unclear how long it would take before the bill would be sent to the full House for debate.

One key difference between the new GOP plan and one offered Thursday is the removal of language that would have expanded the state’s charter schools law, something top GOP leaders had not included as part of their negotiations.