A cross-appeal was filed this afternoon in the school finance case in the Kansas Supreme Court.
The Gannon case involves Schools for Fair Funding, including some students, parents and school districts including the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools, who are suing the state for adequate funding of the public schools. The students and parents stated in the lawsuit that the state had failed to meet its constitutional mandate to provide students with a suitable education, consider the cost of providing the education, and distribute the funds equitably.
The cross-appeal was filed by the plaintiffs, who are the parents, students and districts.
The district court ruling on Jan. 11 ordered that funding be restored to $4,492 base aid per pupil, as opposed to the current $3,838.
According to court documents, the plaintiffs are saying that the panel should have ordered the state to make capital outlay equalization payments for past years.
The three-member judicial panel in Shawnee County District Court had found in favor of the plaintiffs, but declined to order the state to make payments for years from 2009-2010 through 2012-2013.
The cross-appeal, according to court documents, raises the questions of:
- whether $4,492 per pupil will be enough to meet the needs of students, or if additional funding will be necessary;
- whether the right to an education is a fundamental right in the constitution, the denial of which would mean the students have been denied due process rights;
- whether the panel erred by failing to direct the state to make capital outlay state aid equalization payments for the past four years;
- whether the November 2009 allotment of educational funds under the Parkinson administration properly removed the capital outlay state aid equalization payments;
- whether the plaintiffs presented evidence to support a finding that the state had denied the plaintiffs a substantive due process right in violation of the Kansas constitution;
- whether the right to an education is a fundamental right under the Kansas constitution, the denial of which would mean the state has denied certain students and school districts equal protection of the laws under the Bill of Rights in the Kansas constitution, and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution;
- whether the state exercised deliberate indifference to the students’ constitutional rights and ignored a pattern of underlying constitutional violations in a manner that would support a finding that the state has denied certain students and school districts equal protection of the laws in the Bill of Rights of the state constitution and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. constitution; and
- whether the district court improperly denied plaintiffs attorneys’ fees.
The state filed its notice of appeal on Jan. 11. However, on Feb. 7, the state’s attorney general filed motions requesting mediation of the dispute in the school finance litigation as well as a stay of the district court’s decision.