Gannon Decision – Another Victory for Kids

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Gannon victory again!  In a great decision, the three judge panel again sided with the kids.

The decision.

  • Found the block grant bill entirely unconstitutional as to adequacy -“stands, unquestionably and unequivocally, as constitutionally inadequate in its funding.”
  • Found the block grant portions relating to the funding of the equity mechanisms unconstitutional
  • Adopted Plaintiffs’ findings of fact and conclusions of law (with the exception of our suggested remedy)
  • Specifically avoided striking the entirety of S.B. 7 in order to have some method funding in place for the upcoming school year

Summary of the Remedy: To cure these constitutional defects, the Panel did not wholly strike down the block grant bill (S.B. 7) and instead tried to fashion a remedy that would allow the block grant statute to exist, but in a more constitutional manner.  The Panel concluded that the following orders (which it entered) would “mitigate the urgency” for completely invalidating the block grant bill:

  1. A temporary restraining order (TRO) pending the Supreme Court’s review on appeal that requires funding be distributed based on the current years’ weighted enrollment and not the total funds available or the enrollment from the 2014-15 school year (effectively ending the “freeze” on funding);
  2. An order striking the capital outlay state aid funding (Sec. 63) and LOB state aid provisions (Sec. 38) of the block grant statute as unconstitutional;
  3. An order reinstating the capital outlay state aid funding and LOB state aid statutes as they existed prior to the adoption of the block grant bill;
  4. An order encumbering the money necessary to distribute capital outlay state aid funding and LOB state aid funding for this year as calculated by the statute that existed prior to the adoption of the block grant bill (K.S.A. 72-8814 and H.B. 2506);
  5. An order joining the Kansas State Board of Education as a party for purpose of effecting the remedy; and
  6. An order retaining jurisdiction and indicating that the Legislature’s failure to comply with this Order would likely result in complete invalidation of the block grant bill and an order that the funds be distributed under the old formula (the SDFQPA).

Finally, the Panel called upon the Legislature to exercise additional appropriations to meet the requirements of the Order consistent with their “solemn oath of office.”