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Kansas AG says school funding law fixes constitutional flaws

Associated Press - April 16, 2016 6:08 pm

A top Democratic lawmaker says he is joining the crowded race to replace Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita announced his candidacy Saturday. He had named former Democratic Party chairman Lee Kinch as his campaign treasurer earlier this week.

Attorney General Derek Schmidt says a law signed by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback last week satisfies the state’s constitutional duty to provide equitable funding to public schools.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1r4aNvg) Schmidt filed a brief with the state Supreme Court on Friday urging it to withdraw its threat to close the state’s schools.

The court ruled in February that the state wasn’t giving its poorest districts their fair share of funding, and the justices threatened to shut down schools statewide if the problem wasn’t fixed by June 30.

The new law makes technical changes in how state dollars are distributed. Most districts won’t see any change while 23 will see small increases due to tapping an existing state emergency fund.