Kansas Supreme Court rules block grant funding unconstitutional, setting up rush to meet June 30 deadline or see schools closed this fall

The capitol dome in Topeka.
The capitol dome in Topeka.

The specter of Kansas schools not opening this fall grew darker this evening as the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling deeming the legislature’s block grant bill unconstitutional. In the ruling, the court reiterated its June 30 deadline for the legislature to address the equity insufficiencies the legislature was to have addressed last year:

We acknowledge the legislature’s intent, as recently expressed in its preamble to H.B. 2655: “The legislature is committed to avoiding any disruption to public education and desires to meet its obligation.” So, we continue to stay the issuance of our mandate— and the stay of the panel’s broad remedial orders—until June 30, 2016. This will give the legislature yet another opportunity to treat Kansas students fairly and “to craft a constitutionally suitable solution and minimize the threat of disruptions in funding for education.” 303 Kan. at 741.

Early reactions from northeast Johnson County education advocates and political insiders follow below, along with the court’s full ruling. We’ll be publishing the reactions of local legislators and political organizations in the morning: