No matter what the Kansas Supreme Court ultimately decides about whether or not the inflation adjustment to the school finance formula is enough, the budget for the upcoming fall is pretty much a done deal, according to an advocate with the Kansas Association of School Boards.
“Even the plaintiffs, who are still saying that the Legislature didn’t get where they needed to be, are really satisfied with funding for next year,” said Mark Tallman with KASB. “I think there’s a pretty widespread belief that districts can be pretty confident of what they have next year. The issue is whether the Court will say that more needs to be done in future years.”
KASB, for its part, would like to see some certainty for a more extended period.
“At a minimum, we hope that schools will now face four years of solid increases in funding that should allow them to get back some of the losses over the past decade and really make some investments in new areas,” said Tallman.
The final decision should be coming this month.
“The Court itself gave itself a deadline of June 30 to get this resolved,” said Tallman. “Basically, school districts are now preparing budgets that generally are kind of finalized by the local board in July. There is a required public hearing after that and late August is the deadline for the final approval, turning it in to the county.”
When adjustments have needed to be made to the school finance formula, the Court has generally allowed the next Legislature to make those adjustments when it returns in January.