Schools for Fair Funding

SB44 – Keep it Simple – Just Fix it.

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Group of Elementary Pupils In Classroom

SB44.  This is the “simply fix it” bill. It funds the Gannon VI required 6 years of inflation over the next 4 years by simply increasing the base. This is the path the State BOE adopted and recommended in July after Gannon VI. SFFF has filed testimony in favor of SB44 and that testimony is below.

This will end the litigation except for a request for the court to monitor the out years.

SFFFtestimony2-6-19withStateBOEminutepage (1)

Canon on Gannon by Mark Tallman, KASB

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Kansas State Capitol

“In other words, the Kansas courts are not telling the Legislature how much to spend based on an amount judges make up on their own, or even requested by the plaintiffs. They are telling the Legislature it must fund schools based on its own evidence of what it costs to achieve the state’s educational goals.”


Plaintiff’s Remedy Brief

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Briefs in Gannon were filed on May 7th.  You can find the Plaintiffs’ brief in its entirety here 2018-05-07 Plaintiffs Remedy Brief with abbreviated Appendix (1)

Highlights from the brief demonstrate why S.B. 423 is unconstitutional:

  • The State Commissioned a New Study to Estimate the Costs of Providing a Constitutional Education, Which Estimated that Education Spending Should Increase by at Least $1.786 Billion.
  • The State’s own expert completely obliterates any argument that $192 million can generate the results required to reach constitutional compliance.
  • After Receiving the WestEd Report, the State Adopted S.B. 423 and Funded Less Than What Its Expert Predicted was Necessary to Adequately Fund Education.


  • S.B. 423 does not appropriately account for inflation.

Accounting for inflation, Kansas school districts will receive:

  • $192 million in “new money” in FY19;
  • $11.5 million in “new money” in FY20;
  • $14.5 million in “new money” and FY21;
  • $15.8 million in “new money” in FY22; and
  • $18.2 million in “new money” in FY23.

Almost half of the “new money” for FY19 actually comes from the $96 million increase previously provided in S.B. 19.

  • S.B. 423 is politically motivated and does not reflect cost-based decisions that are reasonably calculated to have all students meet or exceed the standards set out in Rose.
  • S.B. 423 continues to knowingly underfund special education.

Equity Violations:

  •  S.B. 423 violates Article 6’s equity requirement because it retains a protest petition and election process regarding LOB.
  • S.B. 423 further violates Article 6’s equity requirement by requiring a transfer from the LOB to the at-risk and bilingual funds.
  • S.B. 423 further violates Article 6’s equity requirement by mandating that all districts adopt a 15% Local Option Budget.

For the reasons stated herein, Plaintiffs request that this Court

  1.  Declare S.B. 423 unconstitutional.
  2.  Enter a finding that the Legislature should appropriate at least enough money to   meet the KSBE’s request for additional resources for FY19. This would require that   the State fund a base of $5,090 for FY19, costing an additional $506   million this   year.
  3. Enter a finding requiring the full funding of Special Education at 92% of Excess Costs as required by statute.
  4. Phase in additional increases in the out-years to reach the approximate additional $1.786 – $2.067 billion (in 2016-17 dollars) indicated by the State’s own cost study.
  5. Incorporate a CPI increase to the amounts funded during any phase-in period to reach adequacy.
  6. Remove any requirement that LOB authority be linked to a protest/election requirement.
  7. Remove any requirement that LOB funding be mandatory, or equalize any mandatory LOB to the 100th percentile.
  8. Remove any provisions that require mandatory transfers from LOB that discriminate based upon the percentage of LOB adopted.

School Finance Bill – HB2445

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The House committee passed out HB2445 on Thursday.  We expect it to hit the floor of the house Monday or Tuesday.

It solves the three lesser equity violations but does not solve the LOB by protest petition and election equity violation.

Here is the money part of it.


  • FY18   $4006
  • FY19   $4170
  • FY20   $4307
  • FY21   $4444
  • FY22   $4581
  • FY23   $4718

For comparison purposes, the State BOE asked for these bases:

  • FY18   $4604
  • FY19   $5090

You will note that while they are attempting to get back to the Montoy last adopted base and update it for inflation, which is what the State BOE asked for, this plan comes up $372 short even after five years.

After the five year phase-in, they plan to apply a CPI adjustment annually. Despite having a CPI adjustment in the statute for many years, it has never followed it in the past. They have simply ignored it.

New Money

FY19   $189,428,148 – SB19 $95,606,000 =  $93,822,148
FY20                                                                                                    $105,500,000
FY21                                                                                                    $105,500,000
FY22                                                                                                    $113,100,000
FY23                                                                                                    $115,500,000
Total new money over SB19                                                       $533,422,148

Only one year, FY19, is appropriated.

You will note that this looks like $533M of new money. It is not.

Inflation is not included in the plan until after the five-year phase-in. Inflation in the system at 1.5% amounts to $70M per year. During a five year phase-in, the plan falls $350M behind just due to inflation.

Because inflation is NOT included for five years, the amount of new money is actually only $183.4M.

It is our opinion that the court will not accept this fix. A $183.4M fix for a $1.5B to $2.0B problem is not close. The state will not be able to meet their burden to show that with this new money schools will get ALL kids to the Rose competencies. We now know that the Rose competencies cost $1.5B to $2.0B due to the Taylor study and the Myers-Picus study.

That being said, we do not oppose HB2445, but we are NOT claiming that it fixes the problem. We do not oppose it because, incrementally, it helps the schools. Think of it as fixing the mess in several steps. This is the first step.

HB2445 as an outlier…

The supreme court rejected SB19 last year because all other evidence pointed to much more money being needed. Last year the comparison was $293M on a $893M problem. The court cited the $293M as being an “outlier” and declared SB19 unconstitutional.

This year, HB2445 is also an outlier… a bigger one. See the chart below.

991456 Cost Study Comparison - Graph with dollars


NO to Constitutional Amendment

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FINAL Save Our Schools SOS NO Constitutional Amendment

A Constitutional amendment was filed Thursday afternoon as a mystery. See HCR5029. It has no listed sponsors. You may click on the link above to view the resolution. It will get a hearing on Tuesday and is scheduled to hit the floor Wednesday.

Calls are needed!  Please contact your legislators. 


  • Low enrollment schools are guaranteed equal educational opportunity.
  • Less wealthy urban kids are guaranteed that the more wealthy schools do not get an advantage.
  • Property taxpayers are guaranteed that they will not pay more simply because of the wealth of the district where their property is located.
  • Western Kansans are guaranteed that their schools can continue to exist and not be reliant upon the whim of more populous area legislators.
  • All kids are guaranteed equal access to an adequate education.

Who wants to shuck these guarantees and leave them to political maneuvering?


Iola Register Editorial

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  • word blame on toy cubes

Don’t blame education for cuts to other depts.

“What we have learned from the tax cuts is that those savings accrued to individuals and corporations were not used to create new jobs as predicted.

Had the state not cut its budget those contractors would still have jobs keeping our roads and bridges up to snuff, our schools humming along, our prisons and veterans programs on track.”

Read More: Iola Register Op Ed

State of the State

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Kansas State Capitol

This evening, Governor Brownback delivered his final State of the State address.  A transcript of the speech is available here.

The Governor put forth a proposal to comply with the Supreme Court in Gannon V.  The Governor has proposed $600M over 5 years without a tax increase.

While we appreciate that the Governor recognizes that schools have been drastically underfunded, it will take a bit more than $120M per year to restore adequacy and bring 125,000 underperforming students up to the state’s new standards.

YEAR INFLATION Funding per Governor’s Plan Needed to achieve KS BOE $600M plan
FY2019 $60M $120M $180M
FY2020 $60 M $120M $180M
FY2021 $60M $120M $180M
FY2022 $60M $120M $180M
FY2023 $60M $120M $180M
TOTALS $300M $600M $900M

The justices were quite clear in their ruling that Kansas must meet the needs of ALL students.  Schools simply can’t reach the 25% of underperforming students (a number that is much higher in high poverty districts) at $120M per year over a five year period.

The Governor also proposed a constitutional amendment to “end litigation.” What that constitutional amendment will look like is still unknown.  However, Kansans understood the value of public education and included it in our constitution in order to protect ALL Kansas students.  Who does Article 6 of the constitution protect? It safeguards that low enrollment schools are guaranteed equal educational opportunity. It ensures that less wealthy urban kids are guaranteed that wealthy school districts do not gain an advantage.  Property taxpayers are guaranteed that they will not pay more simply because of the wealth of the district where their property is located. Western Kansans are guaranteed that their schools can continue to exist and not be reliant upon the whim of more populous area legislators. All kids are guaranteed equal access to an adequate education regardless of their zip code.

We should not throw away our student’s constitutional rights to the whims of political maneuvering.

A number of public education advocacy organizations are opposed to a constitutional amendment.  You can view their opinions here.