The Gannon Ruling on Adequacy
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled the Kansas block grant system unconstitutional. The state’s public education financing system is not reasonably calculated to ensure that all Kansas students meet or exceed the minimum standards of adequacy. The Supreme Court has given the Kansas legislature until June 30, 2017 to enact a constitutional formula.
Not only is the State failing to provide approximately one-fourth of all its public school K-12 students with the basic skills of both reading and math, but that it is also leaving behind significant groups of harder-to-educate students. Student performance reflected in this data is related to funding levels. 15,000 of our state's African American students, or nearly one-half of their total student population, are not proficient in reading and math. 33,000 Hispanic students, or more than one-third of their student population, are not proficient in reading and math. More than one-third of our state's students who receive free and reduced lunches are not proficient in reading and math.
The ruling reflects the bare minimum needed for an adequate school funding formula – “Whether the legislature chooses to exceed these minimal standards is up to that deliberative body and ultimately the people of Kansas who elect those legislators.”
Once a new financing system is enacted, the State will have to satisfactorily demonstrate to the court that its proposed remedy is reasonably calculated to address the constitutional violations identified – as well as that it comports with previously identified constitutional mandates, such as equity.