Kansas lawmakers violated the state Constitution last year when they repealed the state’s old school finance formula and replaced it with a system of block grants for two years, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The unsigned decision upheld a June 26, 2015, ruling by a three-judge district court panel, which said the new funding system is not equitable.
Lawmakers approved the 2015 law as temporary fix to replace a per-student formula for distributing more than $4 billion a year to school in favor of stable “block grants.” The law was meant to give lawmakers time to devise another system for distributing more than $4 billion a year in aid to its 286 public school districts.
However, the court on Thursday said the three-judge panel acted prematurely in ordering the state to add nearly $50 million in additional funding to cure the inequities.
Instead, the court gave lawmakers until the end of this fiscal year, June 30, to fix the problem themselves. But the court also warned that it could close public schools next year if lawmakers fail, or refuse, to take action.
(Read more: LJWorld.com stories)