The governor of Kansas has signed a school funding bill that lawmakers hope passes constitutional muster and prevents the state Supreme Court from shutting down public schools in the state.
The Kansas City Star reports that the funding formula approved by Gov. Sam Brownback uses an equalization formula to distribute funds to the state's 286 districts. It also includes a "hold harmless" provision that keeps most districts from having their aid reduced.
The legislature was under the gun to approve a new state funding formula because the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in February that if lawmakers had not devised a plan by June 30 to fairly distribute aid to school districts, public schools could be shut down on July 1, when the 2016-17 year begins.
Brownback says he signed the bill "because I want to keep our schools open and ensure our students continue to have access to a quality education."
With the law now approved, the court will decide whether it equalizes school funding among wealthier and poorer districts.
Critics of the legislature's funding plan predict the Supreme Court will find it lacking because it does not provide any additional funding. They say a true equalization plan would have required an additional $38 million.