Supreme Court hearing discusses school funding adequacy

jardine middle school

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Wednesday’s hearing was about whether school funding will increase the minimum standards in order for students to be prepared for higher education. That standard is what justices call the rose standard. The state gives out $4.1 billion each year for school funding.

Stephen McAllister, an attorney for the State of Kansas, says students are being tested on material that’s at a higher level than what the schools are expected to teach.

“No one yet has developed a matrix, if it’s possible to determine whether the rose standards capacities are being achieved or not,” McAllister said.

He says there’s no problem with students meeting an adequate standard. But with a third of students not meeting the rose standard, it’s made Justice, Eric Rosen question McAllister’s reasoning.

“Thirty percent, 20%…there has to be some cut off,” Rosen said. “What if 80% weren’t reading proficiency?”

McAllister responded saying he doesn’t believe the percentage would get that high and increasing funds wouldn’t help.

Attorney Alan Rupe’s argument is Kansas schools need an additional $800 million. That extra money would help a third of students who aren’t meeting the rose standard.

“We have declining graduation rates, we have high remedial rates in higher-education for students coming into college,” Rupe said.

After the hearing, the Supreme Court met to discuss both sides of the argument. No date yet on when a decision will be made, but the court plans to work as quickly as possible.

Attorneys Alan Rupe and Stephen McAllister both agree at least one legislative session is needed to fix the adequacy for school funding.

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