Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

The Kansas Supreme Court issued a decision this morning that found Kansas lawmakers were funding Kansas public schools at unconstitutionally low levels.

The Kansas Supreme Court decided Thursday to give the state until June 30 to enact an “equitable” school funding formula. If it doesn’t, the state’s public schools won’t open for the 2016-2017 school year, it said.

In its ruling, the court said that if the Legislature fails to have a formula in place by June 30, the court will decide that “no constituionally valid school finance system exists.”

The ruling affirms a Court of Appeals decision that the state had failed to correct constitutional inequities in the state’s school funding system. The three-judge appeals panel said the state’s block grant system had shorted public schools by $54 million.

“Without a constitutionally equitable school finance system, the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate beyond June 30,” the Supreme Court court said.

Read More Here

 

The Kansas lawmakers were quick to respond and will soon roll out their new funding formula.  Instead of the Block Grant Formula they have been currently using, they will be unveiling their Xanax-Popping Formula this spring.

“The Xanax-Popping Formula is simple really.  The math problem we use to determine what districts get funding is so complex that it forces the reader to have to use a Xanax to calm down their brain.  It is beyond interpretation and therefore can’t be found to be unconstitutional,” said an anonymous lawmaker.

Lawmakers were confident that the courts could not interpret the new funding formula, because of the complexity and the need for Xanax. There would be no issues going forward.

Lawmakers aren’t concerned  about the June 30th deadline, because the Xanax-Popping Formula has been in the works for some time.  Lawmakers are relieved to roll out this new formula. Ultimately, even with this new formula, funding will remain the same-unconstitutionally low.

The distribution of Xanax to teachers and parents to tolerate the new formula will take place when Girl Scout cookies are delivered this spring.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “KS Courts Rule Ed Funding Unconstitutionally Low – Lawmakers Respond With New Formula

  1. Michael Box says:

    Clearly the idea that schools can’t open is an easy read. Believe me it is the wrong read. This is a case in equity. Courts do not randomly & robustly exercise that power. This appears to be the classic case of the Court pulling out the shotgun and showing it to the Legislature.

    Read that opinion again. The Court went on at length why the Court of Appeals did not need, on their own motion (*sua sponte*) join certain parties. Those parties are subject to contempt proceedings if they fail to enforce the order of the Court.

    The Court went on at length comparing this situation to the redistricting maps in the *Essex *case. They said “It [the three judge panel of federal judges] acknowledged its remedial powers as a court in equity, stating these powers are “broad” but “limited ‘to remedies required by the nature and scope of the violation.'”

    Now read Article §6(b): “The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.” Not providing for the finance of our schools is not suitable nor is not having the schools open for instructing our children.

    Back to the opinion the Court clearly tells the Legislature they have a number of ways to suitably finance education in a fashion that passes Constitutional muster. They even suggested (as in *hint hint*) a return to the previous funding formula.

    Then the Court elaborated about the lose lose situation of no Constitutionally firm method in place and alluded to a case in Arkansas. Then comes the explanation of how this clouded system of funding can be enjoined and how schools could fail to operate under the suspect funding formula employed by the Legislature. A reasonable mind can conclude that the schools would close.

    I believe all of this talk about the equitable power of the Court to fashion its own remedy, as the federal panel did in *Essex*, how the Constitutional Officers are subject to proceedings in contempt, and how a Constitutionally defective funding system signals the green light to a judicial remedy if the Legislature fails to do its duty. Push has come to shove, if the Legislature wallows in its pride and continues to govern in a fashion detached from both our Constitution and reality then the Courts will provide the funding by fashioning a remedy that is not defective.

    The schools, if they close during the summer, won’t be closed for long.

    Michael Box

    On Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 1:39 PM, Aimee Patton wrote:

    > Aimee Patton posted: “The Kansas Supreme Court issued a decision this > morning that found Kansas lawmakers were funding Kansas public schools at > unconstitutionally low levels. The Kansas Supreme Court decided Thursday to > give the state until June 30 to enact an “equitable” s” >

  2. eugenevdebs3 says:

    So if the schools can’t open, do all the kids have to go to private schools or get home schooled?

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