Articles Posted in Education Law

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The State did not meet its burden of showing that Senate Bill 19 meets the adequacy and equity requirements set forth in Kan. Const. art. VI, 6(b). S.B. 19 was remedial legislation passed by the legislature in an attempt to bring the State’s education financing system into compliance with Article 6. In one of the four previous decisions by this court in this case, the Supreme Court issued a mandate for the State to create a school funding system that complies with Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution. The Supreme Court held that although S.B. 19 makes positive strides, the State’s public education financing system passes neither the test for adequacy nor the test for equity. As a remedy, the Supreme Court stayed the issuance of its mandate until June 30, 2018, at which time the State will have to satisfactorily demonstrate that its proposed remedy brings the State’s education financing system into compliance with Article 6 regarding adequacy and equity. View "Gannon v. State" on Justia Law

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In 2010, Plaintiffs filed an action claiming that the State violated Kan. Const. art. VI, 6(b) by inequitably and inadequately funding K-12 public education. A three-judge panel determined that, through the School District Finance and Quality Performance Act (SDFQPA), the State had inequitably and inadequately funded education in violation of Article 6. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the panel on equity but determined that the panel did not apply the correct standard in concluding that the State violated the adequacy component. On remand, the panel declared the financing under the SDFQPA and the subsequently enacted Classroom Learning Assuring Student Success Act (CLASS), which replaced the SDFQPA, to be constitutionally inadequate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the panel correctly found that the financing system is constitutionally inadequate. As a remedy, the Court stayed the issuance of today’s mandate and ordered that, by June 30, 2017, the State must demonstrate that any K-12 public education financing system the legislature enacts is capable of meeting the adequacy requirements of Article 6. Otherwise, a lifting of the stay of today’s mandate will mean that the State’s education financing system is constitutionally invalid and therefore void. View "Gannon v. State" on Justia Law

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On February 11, 2016, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the holding of the three-judge district court panel that found changes made to the State's K-12 funding system through enactment of the Classroom Learning Assuring Student Success Act of 2015 (CLASS) violated the equity component of Article 6, section 6(b) of the Kansas Constitution. Specifically, the Court determined the operation of capital outlay state aid and local option budget (LOB) supplemental general state aid, as formulated under CLASS, still allowed inequitable distribution of funding among school districts that it had held unconstitutional in "Gannon v. State," (319 P.3d 1196 (2014) (Gannon I)). This case required the Supreme Court to determine whether the State met its burden to show that recent legislation brought the State's K-12 public school funding system into compliance with Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution. After review, the Court held that it had not: (1) H.B. 2655 cured the capital outlay inequities affirmed to exist in "Gannon II;" (2) H.B. 2655, which included a hold harmless and extraordinary need provisions, failed to cure the LOB inequities affirmed to exist in Gannon II; and (3) the unconstitutional LOB funding mechanism was not severable from CLASS, thus making CLASS unconstitutional. View "Gannon v. Kansas" on Justia Law

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In Gannon I, the Supreme Court confirmed that Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution, which imposes a duty on the legislature to “make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state,” contains both equity and adequacy requirements. On remand, a three-judge district court panel made various rulings. At issue on appeal was the panel’s holding that the State failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s Gannon I directive on equity due to the 2015 legislature amending capital outlay state aid and supplemental general state aid formulas for fiscal year 2015 and repealing the amended aid formulas for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the panel unnecessarily ordered State officials to be joined as parties; (2) the panel had the authority to review the law changing the entitlements for fiscal years 2016 and 2017; (3) the panel properly concluded that the State failed to cure the inquiries affirmed to exist in Gannon I; (4) Plaintiffs were not entitled to attorney fees; and (5) the panel’s remedy was premature. View "Gannon v. State" on Justia Law

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In the underlying “school finance” case, Shawnee Mission School District No. 512 (U.S.D. 512) filed a motion to intervene. Plaintiffs opposed U.S.D. 512’s entry into that litigation, and the State did not object. The district court panel denied the motion to intervene, concluding that the State adequately represented U.S.D. 512’s interests and that the motion to intervene was untimely. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the panel did not abuse its discretion in denying U.S.D. 512’s motion to intervene as a matter of right, as (1) U.S.D. 512’s interests were not adequately represented by the parties in this case; but (2) U.S.D. 512’s motion to intervene was untimely. View "Gannon v. State" on Justia Law

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Tenth-grader Jesus Rodriguez was injured while traveling to a soccer match in the bed of a pickup truck driven by a fellow student and teammate. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company had issued a policy to the Kansas State High School Activities Association, which administered various extracurricular activities in the state. Rodriguez’s mother (Plaintiff) filed a claim with Mutual of Omaha. Mutual of Omaha denied the claim, reasoning that the travel during which Rodriguez was injured did not qualify as covered under the policy. Plaintiff sued the school district, Mutual of Omaha, and other defendants. The district judge held that Mutual of Omaha should be dismissed as a defendant in the case because Rodriguez’s travel was neither authorized by the school district nor subject to reimbursement, the two requirements for “covered travel” under the definition in the Mutual of Omaha policy. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the travel involved in this case did not qualify as subject to reimbursement, and thus there was no coverage under the policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the travel during which Rodriguez was injured was “authorized” and “subject to reimbursement,” and therefore, there was coverage under the policy language. View "Rodriguez v. United Sch. Dist. No. 500" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, school districts and individuals, filed suit against the State, alleging, among other claims, that the State violated the Kansas Constitution by failing to provide a suitable education to all Kansas students. A district court panel concluded (1) the State violated Kan. Const. art. VI when the legislature underfunded K-12 public education between fiscal years 2009 and 2012; (2) the legislature failed to consider the actual costs of providing a constitutionally required education before making its funding decisions; and (3) the legislature withheld or reduced certain funding to which school districts were statutorily entitled. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) certain Plaintiffs did not have standing to bring some claims; (2) the panel did not apply the correct constitutional standard in determining that the State violated the Article 6 requirement of adequacy in public education; and (3) the State created unconstitutional, wealth-based disparities by (i) withholding all capital outlay state aid payments to which certain school districts were otherwise entitled, and (ii) prorating the supplemental general state aid payments to which certain districts were entitled. Remanded.View "Gannon v. State" on Justia Law