A coalition of 52 school districts suing the state over public education funding has asked the Kansas Supreme Court to broaden a lower court’s decision that the current system is unconstitutional.

A Shawnee County court ruled in mid-January that the base funding level of $3,838 per student in fiscal 2013 is unconstitutionally low.

Attorneys representing a group called Schools For Fair Funding filed a cross-
appeal last week asking the court to declare that the system also violates student rights to due process and equal protection. The lower court ruling did not address those issues.

The high court ruled in a 2006 school funding suit that per-student spending was too low. Lawmakers approved a funding level of $4,492 per student in response to the 2006 ruling, but never achieved it.

The coalition is also asking for the capital outlay equalization funding that the districts should have received from the state over the past few years but did not. The lower court said the claim had merit but ruled that the funding could not be made retroactive.

State aid to public education in Arkansas peaked at $4,400 per student in fiscal 2009, but fell to $3,780 in 2012 before rebounding slightly this year.

The school funding coalition filed the suit in 2010.

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