Our statement on the latest Gannon opinion is included in this article along with those of legislators and other local advocacy groups.
“The Gannon decision is generally what we hoped for and expected. Our schools have been underfunded for most of the past 16 years, and the legislature cannot continue to delay properly investing in public education and our children’s future. The court’s opinion was measured and did not dictate specific funding levels. It properly rejected the State’s ‘Successful Schools Model’ which had essentially used the average funding levels of 41 schools that performed better than would be expected based upon their demographics. In addition to the obvious problem of setting funding at the average (and thereby cutting the funding of half the schools in the pool), the court noted that these schools had significant numbers of students not achieving academic standards. As the court stated, “Simply put, merely performing ‘better than expected’—while perhaps a test for efficiency—is not our Kansas test for constitutional adequacy.” Gannon decision p. 25. We also believe requiring the legislature to have a plan for increasing funding by the end of April is a reasonable solution and hope that the legislature promptly creates a task force to begin the process of determining an adequate funding level based upon data relating to necessary outcomes and the costs associated with achieving those outcomes. We were extremely disappointed to see the statement from Senate leadership, including local Senator Jim Denning, accusing the court of acting hastily and claiming to be ‘committed to providing every Kansas student with an exceptional education,’ but going on to say ‘raising taxes to fund this realistic demand is not going to happen.’ We question how they intend to provide that exceptional education without providing adequate funding.”
Originally posted on Facebook 10/3/17.