Analysis: Defiance of top Kan. Republicans in school funding debate garners national attention

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By JOHN HANNA  AP Political Writer
January 19, 2014 – 12:13 pm EST

TOPEKA, Kansas — The bitter legal battle in Kansas over education spending is garnering national attention, thanks to the defiant tone struck by conservative Republican leaders as they wait for a state Supreme Court ruling on whether public schools are entitled to additional tax dollars.

Top Republicans in the GOP-dominated Legislature contend the Supreme Court doesn’t have the authority under the state constitution to tell lawmakers how much to spend on schools. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is with them, pointedly calling out the Supreme Court in his State of the State speech last week with five of the seven justices present.

But the prospect is serious enough that it’s already been discussed by attorneys for the parents and districts suing the state, said John Robb, one of them.

“We’re in new territory here,” Robb said. “We’ve seen talk — lots of talk — but we’ve actually not seen it in action.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: John Hanna has covered Kansas politics and government since 1987. Follow him on Twitter at .