Archive for Wednesday, May 12, 2004

What happened, and what’s next

May 12, 2004


Excerpts from the ruling:

From the outset, legislative leaders openly declared their defiance of the court and refused to meaningfully address the many constitutional violations within the present funding scheme, all of which were created by the Legislature itself. To this very day, those legislative leaders continue to disregard this court's factual findings. ... They likewise continue to ignore the fact that this court did not act alone, but was in fact operating under a mandate handed down from the Kansas Supreme Court in this very case.

This action by the court will terminate all spending functions under the unconstitutional funding provisions, effectively putting our school system on 'pause' until the unconstitutional funding defects are remedied by the legislative and executive branches of our government.

Let the court be crystal clear. If school funding is not based on actual costs incurred by our schools in providing a suitable education for our children, no one, not this court, not the Supreme Court, not the schools, not the public, and not even the Legislature itself will ever be able to objectively determine whether that funding meets the dual requirements of our Constitution, those being 1) adequacy and 2) equity. ... that is the absolute essence of this court's ruling the case at bar.

What happened Tuesday?

In response to the Kansas Legislature's failure to fix a school finance system he found unconstitutional, Shawnee County District Judge Terry Bullock declared that the state could not spend state funds on public schools after June 30.

Bullock said that was the only appropriate step after the Kansas Legislature ignored his earlier order to fix the school finance law.

What the ruling does

The order would hold in contempt of court any local or state official who violates it.

What happens next?

Atty. Gen. Phill Kline said he would file a motion today with the Kansas Supreme Court to block Tuesday's order. Kline said he thought the state's highest court would rule on his motion before the June 30 deadline.

If the justices block the order, Kline said, the appeal of the underlying school-finance case would proceed as scheduled with a decision anticipated by October.

If the high court upholds Bullock's order, it's likely a special session of the Legislature would be called to address school finance.

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