Both sides in the Gannon school-funding lawsuit filed briefs with the Kansas Supreme Court on Monday, making their cases that the Legislature either did or did not come up with a suitable formula for funding K-12 education in the state.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt argued that the bills to increase school funding and create a new formula are enough to please the Court. Lawyers for the four districts suing the state said new funding amounts still weren’t enough.
That much we expected. But a couple of quirks came from Monday’s briefs.
Foremost was which side hailed Lori Taylor’s Republican-requested cost study of the state’s school finance system as gospel. It was the plaintiffs, not the defendants who asked for the study, that said Taylor’s estimate of $1.786 billion to $2.067 billion was in line with proper funding over a five-year period.
Schmidt, arguing for lawmakers, said Taylor’s study had merit in places, but the $500 million over five years approved at the end of the session should be enough to satisfy the court.
Also of note: The Supreme Court wrote last fall that the Legislature would help itself by “showing its work” in coming to a suitable outcome. Schmidt argues in his brief that the Legislature did that as much as two chambers of a legislative body can do.
We’ll see if the Court agrees. Opinions among lawmakers range from near-certainty that the formula will be approved and the case dismissed, to near-certainty that a special session will be needed this summer after the Court rejects the latest formula.