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Kansas High Court: State Still Must Add More Money For Schools In The Next Year

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By Celia Llopis-Jepsen – Kansas News Service/KCUR

Kansas continues to underfund its schools, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday —a decision that could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars more over the next four years.

But because the Legislature agreed to significant hikes in education spending this spring, the justices gave lawmakers another year to comply.

The high court could have forced legislators back to Topeka in coming weeks to fix the problem or face school closures, something the state’s lawyers begged it not to do.

“The 2018 legislature’s efforts,” the justices wrote, “and the amount of money added to the financing system for the approaching school year should permit such an extension.”

The Legislature passed a five-year plan this spring to add more than a half billion dollars in annual school funding over the next half decade.

That, the state argued in court, brings Kansas in line with funding levels approved by the Kansas Supreme Court in a separate court case in the mid-2000s — adjusting for inflation.

The justices disagreed. Among the problems they found: Kansas left out multiple years’ worth of inflation from its tallies.

But the high court did drop the other major claim against Kansas — that the state is not only underfunding schools, but leaving the poorest districts with the least resources. This time the justices found the new school funding plan fair to poorer districts.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen is a reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach her on Twitter @Celia_LJ. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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