The Kansas Supreme Court plans to rule today on a request by school districts to reopen a lawsuit over school funding.
A coalition of more than 70 school districts — including the Wichita district — hopes to reopen the case, which forced the Kansas Legislature to spend $1 billion more on schools starting in 2005.
If the schools are successful, the suit could have big implications for school funding in Kansas and the state's ability to fund schools without tax increases or deep cuts elsewhere in the budget.
The original lawsuit successfully argued that the Legislature hadn't funded schools at the level required by the state constitution. Now the districts argue the Legislature violated the original ruling by cutting school funding during the recession.
The court could reopen the 1999 case or rule that the districts must start over with a new court challenge. Whatever today's ruling, it's likely to be years before a new or reopened court case is settled.
Many lawmakers contend another attempt to force the Legislature to increase school funding could have a disastrous impact as it attempts to shore up the state's budget, now more than $400 million in the red.
Senate Vice President John Vratil, a Leawood Republican and attorney, said it would be unprecedented for the court to reopen the case.