Last week, the plaintiffs filed a brief that claimed that an increase of $893 million ($567 million this year and $893 million in 2018-2019), as recommended by the State Board of Education, is required to close the achievement gap. The State’s brief countered that the state board’s figure was “aspirational” and that funding needed to be increased only for “at-risk” students and not across the board. Plaintiffs claim that the amounts in the new formula are insufficient to meet the actual needs of at-risk students.
The dispute between the parties centers on the fact that although the state’s calculations accepted the higher weighting for at risk students that had been recommended in past cost studies, they did not utilize the base figure recommended in those studies; instead they used a lower base figure that emerged from a new “successful schools” study that had recently been undertaken. The Court’s March, 2017 ruling held that the existing system was unconstitutional because it was “not reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the minimum constitutional standards of adequacy.”
The Court is expected to issue a ruling on this matter in August, before the start of the new school year.