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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Superintendent discusses school finance lawsuit

  • This week, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in a school finance lawsuit that's being backed by the Leavenworth school district.
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  • This week, the Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments in a school finance lawsuit that's being backed by the Leavenworth school district.
    "We're very passionate about this," Leavenworth Superintendent Kelly Crane said.
    The Leavenworth district is a member of the Schools For Fair Funding organization which is supporting the lawsuit against the state government that seeks more funding for public schools.
    The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in the case Gannon vs. state of Kansas.
    The lawsuit argues the state has violated the Kansas Constitution by not adequately funding public schools.
    "We've been cut every year for the last six years," Crane said.
    In January, a lower court's ruling ordered the state to increase school funding by at least $440 million a year, according to the Associated Press.
    Crane argues that if the state government funded public schools at the proper level, it would amount to between $2.5 million and $3 million in additional funding for the Leavenworth district.
    She argued the Leavenworth district could reduce its mill levy for local property taxes by five mills if the state provided the proper funding.
    Crane said the district receives unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments.
    "If they're going to require mandates, they need to be funded," she said.
    If Schools For Fair Funding prevails in the case, Crane said everyone will be looking at the Legislators to see how lawmakers respond.
    Schools For Funding supported an earlier school finance lawsuit, Montoy vs. state of Kansas., which led to a 2006 Supreme Court decision ordering more funding for public schools. Supporters of the lawsuit have argued the state has failed to comply the 2006 ruling.
    State Solicitor General Stephen McAllister, who represented the state during Tuesday's hearing, argued legislators have had to react to economic realities when making budget decisions, according to the Associated Press.
    A decision from the Kansas Supreme Court in the current case is anticipated by early January 2014.
    Information provided by Crane indicates the Leavenworth district has paid more than $60,000 to Schools Fair Funding during the last four years.

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