Public school funding in Kansas is now constitutional after a nearly decade-long lawsuit, the Kansas Supreme Court announced Friday in its Gannon v. State decision.
In order to ensure lawmakers follow through on funding education, the court is retaining jurisdiction of the case.
“We now hold that through S.B. 16's additional funding... the State has substantially complied with our mandate from Gannon VI,” the ruling said. “And we retain jurisdiction to ensure continued compliance with that mandate.”
Gannon v. State was filed by Jeff Gannon in 2010 on behalf of four Kansas public school districts. The suit claimed that the state was inadequately and inequitably funding K-12 education.
The high court made a series of decisions in the past few years that found the way the state was funding education unconstitutional. This caused the legislature to add additional funding for education multiple times and replace the formula used for distributing funds.
In 2018, the legislature passed a funding plan, which was signed into law by then-Gov. Jeff Coyler, that added $525 million a year to education funding.
The Kansas Supreme Court supported the bill, but found that it did not account for funding lost to inflation. This year, the legislature passed a bill adding $90 million in annual funding for four years. The bill received bipartisan support, and was signed into law by Gov. Laura Kelly.
“Today is a great day for Kansas and for our kids,” Kelly said in a press release regarding the court’s decision. “Educating our kids is not just one of the best ways to address challenges facing our state, it’s also our moral and constitutional obligation.”