Kansas high court: School funding unconstitutional

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The efforts of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to make his state a tax-cutting example for the nation may have taken a big hit today.

The state Supreme Court ruled that Kansas must spend more money on its public schools -- and that the current amount of school funding is unconstitutional. But the ruling stopped short of telling lawmakers exactly how much to spend -- giving that responsibility instead to a lower court.

Kansas had enacted sweeping cuts to income taxes in the last two years, reducing the amount of available resources for education funding. And lawmakers could be forced to reconsider those cuts.

The state cut its annual base aid to schools by $386 million over several years as tax revenues declined, although it did cover some rising costs, such as teacher pensions. The suit was filed in 2010 on behalf of four school districts and parents. It said students were harmed because spending cuts resulted in lower test scores and affected programs aimed at helping poor and minority students.

In a statement, Brownback says he will work with lawmakers with the goal of "providing a quality education to every child."

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167-c-21-(Rita Foley, AP correspondent)-"it should be"-AP correspondent Rita Foley reports the Kansas Supreme Court says the state's current public school funding levels are not good enough. (7 Mar 2014)

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166-v-30-(Rita Foley, AP correspondent)--There's a decision in a long-awaited ruling about schools: the question is, how much money is enough for a good education? AP correspondent Rita Foley reports. (7 Mar 2014)

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APPHOTO CER101: FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2014 file photo Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, left, leans in to listen to Xen Hesse as the two each lunch at Roesland Elementary School in Roeland Park, Kan. On Friday, March 7, 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court said the state's current public school funding levels are unconstitutional. The case has broader implications beyond the classroom: Kansas enacted sweeping cuts to income taxes championed by Brownback that have reduced the amount of available resources to comply with a court order. (AP Photo/John Milburn, File) (6 Mar 2014)

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