Kansas School Finance Trial Underway

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Monday, June 4, 2012

An attorney representing the state of Kansas says legislators did the best they could to maintain education funding while faced with a struggling state economy in recent years.

Arthur Chalmers is a Wichita attorney hired by the state in the latest school finance litigation. During opening statements Monday, he told a three-judge panel in Shawnee County District Court that school funding wasn't arbitrarily targeted from 2009 through 2011.

Instead, Chalmers said legislators took steps to maintain education funding. And he noted districts also had local and federal funding sources available.

Alan Rupe, an attorney for students and school districts, argued Monday that the spending cuts contribute to lingering achievement gaps.

The trial is scheduled to last three weeks. Any decision is expected to be appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Monday, June 4, 2012

A legal challenge filed against the state of Kansas over the funding of public schools has reached Shawnee County District Court.

Attorneys are scheduled to present opening arguments Monday before a three-judge panel. The trial is scheduled to last as long as three weeks.

The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by attorneys representing 54 school districts claiming the state is reneging on its promise to maintain suitable levels of funding for education.

It is the second time this decade that the Kansas school finance formula has been under judicial scrutiny. The last dispute resulted in legislators increasing school spending by nearly $1 billion.

The state contends that current funding levels are constitutional and that it is the Legislature's decision to set funding levels based on available state revenues.

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