The Topeka Capital-Journal went a little too far in describing the challenges lawmakers will face in crafting a new school finance formula.
Tim Carpenter penned a story about the recent passage of legislation to balance this year’s budget. He concluded that lawmakers still have work to do, but he embellished Kansas Supreme Court requirements.
He wrote: “On the horizon for both the Legislature and Brownback is a state budget shortfall of more than $1 billion through June 19. In addition, the state will need hundreds of millions of dollars in new aid to the K-12 public school districts to comply with the orders of the Kansas Supreme Court.”
Eh. Not so fast, Tim.
The Supreme Court ruled in its Gannon decision that school funding isn’t adequately calculated. They stopped short of demanding specific dollar amounts.
The opinion reads, “Our adequacy test…rejects any litmus test that relies on specific funding levels to reach constitutional compliance.”
Justices recommended legislators consider previous audits and studies that measured adequacy and accountability. That may be why lawmakers on the House’s K-12 Education Budget Committee hired an attorney. Former Sen. Jeff King, a constitutional attorney will examine a committee proposal before forwarding a school funding recommendation to the full House.
Justices opined that their guidance on the topic is incomplete, and lawmakers have enough questions they’ve hired a lawyer. So it’s surprising to see a journalist pick some numbers to satisfy the Court out of thin air.