Kansas school districts move to reopen funding lawsuit

A group of Kansas school districts has filed a motion to reopen a school funding lawsuit, claiming recent budget cuts violate the state's constitution.

The motion to reopen the Montoy case was filed Monday afternoon at the Kansas Supreme Court, said John Robb, lead attorney of Schools For Fair Funding.

Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, predicted the lawsuit would cause some backlash.

"We don't want to cut education, but our job is broader than education — it is how we fund SRS, how we fund Medicaid, prisons, safety, water quality, KDHE," said Schodorf, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. "It's bigger than education, but education is 50 percent of the budget."

More than 50 school districts, including Wichita, have agreed to pay for the litigation against the state, which is estimated to cost $500,000 a year.

The coalition is asking the court to reopen a lawsuit it decided in 2005, when it ordered the Legislature to substantially increase education funding.

Before last year's cuts, the state's K-12 schools had received an additional $600 million since 2006.

The action asks the Supreme Court to consider two questions: Is the current funding system constitutional in light of its 2005 school finance decision? And are budget cuts since 2009 constitutional?