State asks Kansas Supreme Court to reject challenge to its Gannon argument

Attorneys for the state said in a document filed Monday with the Kansas Supreme Court that their argument in support of Kansas’ new school finance formula wasn’t misleading and that a funding request by the Kansas State Board of Education was more money than necessary.

 

An attorney for the school district argued in a motion filed last week that the state had used “misleading” and “unsupported” arguments as it defended Kansas’ plan to increase school funding by $195 million next year and $292 million in the year after that. The districts’ attorney, Alan Rupe, has argued that the state should spend an extra $567 million in the coming school year and $893 million in the following year, citing a request for that amount made by the Kansas State Board of Education.

The state claimed that the request for $893 million was not based on a set of standards the school funding formula has to meet, but attorneys for the district claim the state misquoted Education Commissioner Randy Watson to make that argument. Members of the board said last week that they disagreed with the state’s claim that the amount requested wasn’t based on school standards.

In its Monday filing, the state said its argument wasn’t misleading and that the board’s funding request was based on standards beyond the minimum standards the finance formula has to meet.

“The Kansas Constitution is not a bankruptcy pact, nor does it require the virtually impossible,” the filing says.

The state has to prove its new school funding system is constitutional.

The Supreme Court also denied the state’s Monday request to have former Sen. Jeff King argue on behalf of the Legislative Coordinating Council during the case’s oral arguments, which are scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday. The LCC is a group of lawmakers that makes decisions while the Legislature isn’t in session.

The group decided last month to pay King another $15,000 to write an amicus curiae brief after paying him $50,000 to serve as counsel while the Legislature worked on its school finance plan. In an order published later Monday, the court said that as an amicus curiae, the LCC is not entitled to a part in oral arguments.

Mayoral elections are Aug. 2

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