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School Funding Ruling Hangs Over Kansas Legislature's Final Day

Stephen Koranda
KPR/File photo

Kansas lawmakers return to Topeka Wednesday for what was supposed to be the last day of the legislative session. However, the state Supreme Court ruled late Friday that lawmakers haven’t done enough to reduce funding disparities among school districts. That means there’s likely more work ahead for the Legislature.

Lawmakers shuffled school spending to reduce disparities, but the court says that didn’t fix the issue and in some ways made it worse. Justices say they’ll close Kansas schools if there isn’t a solution by the end of June.

With little time since the ruling, it’s unlikely lawmakers will work on the issue much or have a new plan this week. It's likely they'll have to come back after the session was scheduled to end.

In addition, Kansas is in a tight budget situation following tax cuts made in recent years, so it might not be easy to provide additional funding for schools if that’s what lawmakers decide to do.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.