Wichita Eagle Editorial: Court did its job; now up to Legislature

Eagle Editorial Board

The school-funding provision in the Kansas Constitution contains no exemptions for political winds, tax-cut quests or even hard times. It’s the Kansas Supreme Court’s somber and unenviable job to hold the state to its responsibility to public school districts and their students.

Friday’s decision did so, finding that the law passed in March to fix inequities in the distribution of supplemental general state aid would create “intolerable, and simply unfair, wealth-based disparities among the districts.”

It ordered the Legislature to find another remedy that will bring the school-funding system into compliance with the constitution by restoring equity, which might require coming up with another $40 million. Thank goodness the court didn’t buy the state’s argument that local option budget funding could be suspended in its entirety until the 2017 Legislature convenes. That $1 billion cut statewide would have caused havoc for districts including Wichita, which already is cutting jobs and programs because of the failure of the state’s two-year block grants to keep up with increased costs.

Failure to heed the ruling should not be an option at the Statehouse, given the court’s June 30 deadline and the potential for a funding interruption to disrupt preparations for the next school year.

Read the entire editorial at the Wichita Eagle.