The Wichita school district may join dozens of other districts that have decided before to sue the state over lack of funding.
The Wichita school board is set to decide whether to increase the district's influence — and membership dues — in an organization of school districts that has successfully sued the state.
Board members will vote at their regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday on whether to pay $89,294 to become a full member of Schools for Fair Funding. Full membership would give the district the ability to vote.
"We'll be full members at the table," said board president Barbara Fuller. "We'll be doing the same thing we've been doing."
Wichita, the state's largest school district, has been an associate member of the group since 2005, meaning representatives could sit and listen but couldn't vote, spokeswoman Susan Arensman said. She said she didn't know how much the district paid to be an associate member.
The Goddard school board is also set to discuss Schools for Fair Funding at its meeting 7 p.m. Monday.
Schools for Fair Funding members haven't yet voted to take any action regarding this year's state cuts. The Wichita district lost about $21 million in state aid.
The coalition of schools hasn't asked anything of the Legislature so far, Fuller said.
"It's an opportunity for a group to work together," she said. "It will be a group that might vote to take a position on the Legislature."
Deep budget cuts spurred the original lawsuit, which resulted in a 2005 Kansas Supreme Court ruling against the state lawmakers. The Legislature increased school funding.
Education officials have said this year's budget cuts have started to dismantle strong programs and support services made possible because of that influx of money for the past four years.
The Wichita district will pay the membership fee out of the part of the operating budget that is raised through local property taxes.
Whether there will be any effect on taxes is unclear, Arensman said.
Fuller said she thinks coalition membership is a good investment.
"It became a voice for public education, and we now need to continue that voice," she said.