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Kansas Supreme Court Justice Worries About 'Constant Litigation' From School Districts

A Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen said during a hearing Tuesday he worries about "constant litigation" if the court sides with school districts that have sued the state to increase public education funding.

A state law enacted in 2006 set the state's base funding for public schools at $4,492 per student each year, but the current base state funding is $3,838 per student, or nearly 15 percent less. In 2010, a lower court ruled that the state must boost its annual spending on public schools by at least $440 million a year.  That lawsuit followed one filed in 1999. 

The court heard arguments Tuesday on the state's appeal. Wichita attorney Alan Rupe spoke on behalf of the school districts, which include Wichita, Kansas City, Dodge City, and Hutchinson.

Rosen asked Rupe whether there's an end in sight to litigation over school funding. Rupe said the end will come when lawmakers provide adequate funding. Rosen replied that's a target that changes from year to year.

A state Supreme Court decision on the issue is anticipated by early January 2014.

When she's not out making lattes in her mobile coffee bus Sunflower Espresso, Kate Hutchens is a fill-in host for KMUW. She has worked in broadcast journalism at KFDI, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and at KMUW as Morning Edition host, which she did until March 2017.