School districts’ attorney asks court to strike part of state’s argument in court brief

Alan Rupe, an attorney representing public school districts and students, tries to argue his case in front of the Supreme Court during a May 2016 hearing on school finance. (2016 file photo/The Capital-Journal)

An attorney for districts in an ongoing school funding lawsuit against Kansas filed a motion with the Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday to strike part of the state’s argument in support of its finance formula.

 

The state has argued in court filings that its plan to phase in a $292 million funding increase over two years is constitutional, but Rupe has argued in briefs that the state needs to phase in an $893 million increase in that time frame, citing a request for that funding by the Kansas State Board of Education.

Rupe and members of the board have said they disagree with the state’s brief, filed July 7 and written by Stephen McAllister, that says State Education Commissioner Randy Watson said the large funding request was not based on a set of educational standards the school funding formula has to meet. In his motion, Rupe called the state’s argument — that the requested $893 million wasn’t calculated to comply with those standards — “misleading.”

Rupe’s motion claims McAllister didn’t quote Watson accurately, and board members and Watson said Wednesday that they disagreed with McAllister’s brief.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Tuesday. Rupe said the court could choose to ignore the disputed section of the state’s brief and that he might not know what justices plan to do until they issue a decision in the case.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Mayoral elections are Aug. 2

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