A three-judge panel in Shawnee County has ruled in favor of the Kansas City, Kan. school district and several other plaintiffs in their lawsuit over the Kansas school finance formula.
The judges said the formula may pass constitutional muster, but it has been so severely underfunded as to be unconstitutional.
The court ordered the legislature to raise per pupil spending to $4,492. It's now at $3,838.
And the judges use extraordinarily aggressive language in rendering the decision, which is likely to be appealed.
"We must conclude that the Legislature could not have possibly considered the actual costs of providing a...suitable education in making its appropriations in its annual sessions after its 2008 session through its 2012 session."
"Educators, state and local education officials, and even the Legislature's own established commission recommended to the contrary of what was done."
"If damage was done through past state action, that loss of educational opportunity resulting is but a moral tragedy whose authors must bear the burden."
"If the position advanced here is the State's full position, it is experimenting with our children which have no recourse from the failure of the experiment."
"It seems completely illogical that the state can argue that a reduction in education funding was necessitated by a downturn in the economy and the state's diminishing resources and at the same time cut taxes further...While the Legislature has said the educational funding is a priority, the passage of the tax cut bill suggests otherwise..."
"An educational system that permits these results is neither fair, nor balanced, nor in the public interest. More importantly, in Kansas, such an educational system is not constitutional."