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Federal Lawsuit Over Kansas School Funding System Dismissed

Bloomsberries, flickr Creative Commons

A federal lawsuit challenging Kansas’ school funding system has been dismissed.

Petrella v. Brownback was filed in 2010 by a group of parents and students in the Shawnee Mission School District who argued that a state limit on local authorities to raise and spend money on local schools violated the U.S. Constitution.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Wednesday that the lawsuit was dismissed after two appeals and an unsuccessful attempt to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We have successfully defended Kansas law against this challenge in federal court," Schmidt said.

KCUR's Sam Zeff reports the lawyer for the Petrella parents says they voluntarily dismissed the suit and might re-file the complaint depending on what the state Supreme Court rules in the much larger, still-pending Gannon v. Kansas case

Lawmakers resolved the issue of equity earlier this year, but the question remains over whether the state is spending enough on schools.

"We voluntarily dismissed the case a few weeks ago and can re-file later once the dust settles on the Kansas financing scheme — if the distribution of funding remains unfair to the SMSD," says attorney Tristan Duncan.

The Kansas Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments for the Gannon case in September.


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Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.