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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Superintendent: Ruling provides clarity on key questions

  • While it's unclear how a recent Kansas Supreme Court decision will impact funding for Leavenworth public schools in the short term, the ruling provides clarity on key questions that have to be answered, the interim superintendent said.
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  • While it's unclear how a recent Kansas Supreme Court decision will impact funding for Leavenworth public schools in the short term, the ruling provides clarity on key questions that have to be answered, the interim superintendent said.
    The Kansas Supreme Court issued its ruling Friday in a lawsuit about the state's funding of public schools.
    The court found that state government had failed to provide equity in public education as required by the Kansas Constitution. The court set a July 1 deadline for the state to address some issues. The court also ordered a three-judge panel to reconsider whether the state is adequately funding public education.
    "There's obviously many more discussions in Topeka to be had before there's a resolution to this," Leavenworth Interim Superintendent Bret Church said.
    The Leavenworth school district is a member of an organization called Schools For Fair Funding, which has been supporting the lawsuit.
    Church said Friday's unanimous Supreme Court ruling "clearly outlined what needs to be the topics of discussions" going forward.
    "And I think anytime we get more specificity is a positive," he said.
    Church said the conversation about school funding revolves around providing equity in education around the state, something he believes is important to Leavenworth.
    He said recommendations for addressing equity in funding for what are known as local option budgets and capital outlay budgets "would be a positive benefit for our students but also our taxpayers."
    He said this could result in a lowering of the Leavenworth school district's property tax rate.
    As the court case and the response from legislators continue to play out in Topeka, Church said Leavenworth school officials will be focusing on student learning.
    "We focus on the fact that each day students will be here," he said.
    But, he said school officials also will keep track of future decisions and other actions related to the court case.
    More than 40 Kansas school districts are members of Schools For Fair Funding, according to a website for the Newton law firm Somers, Robb and Robb, which has been involved in the lawsuit.

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