A Kansas Supreme Court ruling on education funding could mean over $1 million in additional funding for Salina USD 305 Schools. The high court struck down a stopgap law for funding the state’s public schools, saying it left poor districts $54 million short.
The justices ruled Thursday that the Republican-backed law enacted last year doesn’t comply with the Kansas Constitution.
Salina USD 305 Superintendent Bill Hall tells KSAL News that if the court ordered increase prompts legislators to go back to the previous funding formula for the last two fiscal years in lieu of the new block grant funding, it would mean about $800,000 for Salina in capital outlay and about another $600,000 for the local option budget. Capital outlay would be real dollars that the district could spent on things like furniture and equipment. The local option budget money would go toward lowering local property taxes, giving taxpayers some relief.
Republican legislators last year junked the state’s old per-pupil formula for distributing more than $4 billion in aid a year in favor of steady “block grants.” The law also took back some of the increased aid districts expected to receive for the 2014-15 school year.
The court gave lawmakers until the end of June to write a new law. The court said in its unsigned opinion: “Without a constitutionally equitable school finance system, the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate beyond June 30.”
Hall said “I don’t like to quantify this as a win / loss type of situation, but I think this is a victory for Kansas students.”
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