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Kansas court rules school funding law unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Kansas [official website] upheld [opinion, PDF] a decision on Thursday that found unequal state educational funding to be unconstitutional. The court gave the state's legislature until June 30 to implement a valid dispersal of funds. If the legislature cannot enact an approved procedure before the deadline, the opinion read, "the schools in Kansas will be unable to operate beyond June 30." A 2014 law made the access of additional funds unequal between wealthy and poor school districts, undercutting the poorer districts based on property taxes recoverable within their boundaries. The court held that "school districts must have reasonably equal access to substantially similar educational opportunity" under Article 6 [text] of the Kansas Constitution.

Public schools across the nation faced restructuring [JURIST report] last December, and that could mean more work for the Kansas legislature. Early that month President Barack Obama signed [press release] the Every Student Succeeds Act [text, PDF] into law. The new measures hand much of the power over education success monitoring back to the states. The Every Student Succeeds Act revises the controversial 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) [materials] and removes the accountability measures for standardized test scores that had been set by the federal government.

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