Issuing its seventh decision since 2016 in the long-pending Gannon v. State case, the Kansas Supreme Court last month held that the State has substantially complied with its mandate from Gannon VI, but it retained jurisdiction to ensure continued compliance with that mandate.
In 2018, the court held that through legislation enacted in 2017 and 2018, the State had met its burden of complying with the equity requirements of the educational article of the state constitution, but that it had not fully met the constitution’s adequacy requirement. Specifically, it had held the State needed to make timely financial adjustments in response to two inflation problems to “satisfactorily address the remaining constitutional infirmities in adequacy appearing in its chosen plan and particularly in the implementation.”
At that time, the court retained jurisdiction and stayed the issuance of a final mandate until June 30, 2019 in order to give the State an opportunity to make those financial adjustments and reach constitutional compliance. The court now held that the state had done so by enacting a bill that will increase state education funding by $90 million per year for the next four years and then adding a CPI-based inflation adjustor for the years thereafter. Responding to plaintiffs’ arguments that the state has had a poor record in recent years in adhering to past court-ordered funding requirements, the court decided to retain jurisdiction to ensure continued compliance with the current mandate.