A few different topics about Kansas were up for discussion during the Legislative Coffee that was held Saturday.
Representative John Edmonds lead the discussion to a group of concerned citizens of Barton County.
“I have been doing this for 22 years either as an elected official or an interested party and this is the best thing. If you really want to know what is going on come to a Legislative Coffee,” Edmonds said.
The hot topic that was discussed was SB 7.
This bill is called the Creating the classroom learning assuring student success act; making and concerning appropriations for fiscal years ending June 30, 2015, June 30, 2016, and June 30, 2017, for the department of education.
According to the Kansas Association of School Boards. on Feb. 11 a decision was made about SB 7.
Upon the passage of SB 7, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a declaratory judgment finding SB 7 unconstitutional and asking for injunctive relief, which would have essentially repealed SB 7 and reinstated the previous school finance formula.
On June 26, 2015, the three-judge panel issued an opinion that declared SB 7 unconstitutional and issued a TRO that would have immediately added $50 million to school financing by requiring the state to fund LOB and Capital Outlay equalization aid.
The state filed a motion requesting a stay to the panel’s rulings and the Supreme Court granted the state’s motion.
Oral arguments were held on Nov. 6, 2015, regarding the impact of SB 7 on the equity portion of the Gannon I decision.
Supreme Courts decision
The court affirmed the panel’s decision and held that SB 7 fails to cure the inequities declared to exist in Gannon I.
The state did not meet its burden to show that it cured the Gannon I Capital Outlay or Supplemental General State inequities for fiscal year 2015.
The Supreme Court's order
While the court affirmed the panel’s holding that SB 7 did not cure the inequities in Gannon I, the majority of the court agreed with the state that the legislature should be given another chance to develop a constitutional school funding system.
The court declined to affirm the panel’s specific equity orders in anticipation of legislative action to cure the inequities.
The court is giving the legislature until June 30, 2016, to enact a constitutionally equitable school finance system.
If the legislature fails to enact such a system, schools in Kansas will be unable to operate beyond June, 30 2016.
What does this mean?
According to KASB. The court has given the legislature another chance to make things right.
The court is giving them this opportunity to decrease the disruption to schools.
This decision only impacts the equity portion of the school finance system litigation. The court has put a stay on the adequacy portion probably at least through June 30, 2016.
For schools, it is business as usual, the block grants are still in place.
For more information about SB 7 visit kslegislature.org.