U.S. News

Kansas sued again over school funding

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A group of Kansas public school districts filed a lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the state has again unconstitutionally short-changed students.

The lawsuit alleges that the state failed to provide sufficient money to comply with a funding plan that resulted from a previous lawsuit that was settled in 2006, according to a statement from the districts’ lawyers.

“While the court-approved plan called for $755 million in new funding, the legislature and governor have thus far cut over $303 million from the schools,” the statement said.

The lawsuit, filed in Shawnee County District Court, claims that action violated the Kansas Constitution in terms of the way schools are funded. A new law requires school funding lawsuits to be sent to the state appeals court chief judge, who will assign a three-judge panel to hear the case, the statement said.

Governor Mark Parkinson, who is not running in Tuesday’s election, hopes the next administration and legislature will work together “to uphold the state’s commitment to public schools,” his spokeswoman Amy Jordan Wooden said.

“As Governor Parkinson has said many times before, our state has faced some extremely challenging times during this economic recession, but we cannot sue our way out of them,” she said.

Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by James Dalgleish and Andrew Hay