Christopher Swope was GOVERNING's executive editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kansas lawmakers have until April 12 to increase funding for education in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling last month.
The court affirmed a district judge's controversial opinion that Kansas does not adequately fund its schools. Kansas is one of two dozen states facing lawsuits arguing that the states don't spend enough on K-12 education to satisfy their own constitutions ["Insufficient Funds," December 2004].
While the court said that "it is clear increased funding will be required," the justices didn't say exactly how much more money Kansas must devote to schools. This gives legislators some flexibility in resolving a tricky issue that produced a legislative stalemate last year. The justices made it clear, however, that it is they who will decide how much is enough. "The legislature, by its action or lack thereof in the 2005 session, will dictate what form our final remedy, if necessary, will take," the justices said.
Kansas legislators are gearing up for what will surely be their most contentious debate of the year. Democrats are mulling a tax increase. Some conservatives, meanwhile, are looking at ways to avoid that outcome, including changing the state's definition of what constitutes a "suitable education."
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