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Kansas School Funding is ‘Wild Card’

Associated Press - June 21, 2015 12:11 pm

A lawsuit over funding for Kansas public schools threatens to upend the state budget that Republican Governor Sam Brownback and the GOP-dominated Legislature struggled to balance this year.

The state is increasing sales and cigarette taxes to help raise an estimated $384 million in new revenues during the fiscal year beginning July 1st to avert a budget deficit.

But Brownback acknowledged state aid for its 286 public school districts remains a “wild card.”

A three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court has ruled that Kansas must boost aid to school districts by at least $548 million a year. The state has appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

The same panel has yet to rule on the constitutionality of a school funding law enacted in March to make funding more predictable.