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No Guidance From Kansas Education Department Until High Court Rules

Kansas school districts are waiting to hear if there will be a special legislative session and looking for guidance from the state Department of Education.
Kansas school districts are waiting to hear if there will be a special legislative session and looking for guidance from the state Department of Education.
Kansas school districts are waiting to hear if there will be a special legislative session and looking for guidance from the state Department of Education.
Credit KCUR 89.3
Kansas school districts are waiting to hear if there will be a special legislative session and looking for guidance from the state Department of Education.

While most school districts in Kansas prepare for a possible shutdown at the end of the month, educators are looking for some guidance from the state Department of Education (KSDE).       

Everyone is waiting to see whether there will be a special session of the Kansas Legislature to try and fix the inequity between rich and poor districts.

If it’s not fixed by the end of the month, the state Supreme Court has said it will prohibit districts from spending or raising money.

But does that only mean state funds? What about local taxes or federal money?

"We're waiting to see what the court orders," says KSDE spokesperson Ann Bush. 

Bush says school districts can expect no guidance from the state until KSDE sees what, if any, order comes out of the Supreme Court.

Last week, Shawnee Mission Schools Superintendent Jim Hinson said he will use local property taxes raised in this fiscal year to keep his district open. Other superintendents have said they might use federal money to continue feeding poor kids during the summer months and keep special education services open.

Bush says the department is working on those answers but without specifics from the court, she says, it’s impossible to tell educators what they can and can’t do.

She says the department is focused on working with the governor and lawmakers to prevent a closure.

Sam Zeff  covers education for KCUR and is co-host of the political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.

Copyright 2016 KCUR 89.3