Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the state's long-running finance litigation, Gannon v. State. Last week, the Court upheld the lower court's ruling, writing:
As for the capital outlay funding claims, we hold the panel correctly ruled that the
State created unconstitutional, wealth-based disparities by withholding all capital outlay
state aid payments to which certain school districts were otherwise entitled under K.S.A.
2012 Supp. 72-8814(c). We additionally hold the panel correctly refused to order
payment of capital outlay state aid to which districts were otherwise entitled for fiscal
year 2010. We further hold that the panel correctly ruled that the State created
unconstitutional, wealth-based disparities by prorating the supplemental general state aid
payments to which certain districts were entitled under K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 72-6434 for
their local option budgets.
It did find, however, that the lower court had applied the wrong legal standard in determining whether the state was violating students' rights to an adequate education, and remanded on that point.
Overall, the case reads as a huge victory for the plaintiffs (see the Education Law Center's analysis), although the state is claiming some solace in the flexibility the opinion potentially affords it.