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Local schools await court decision

1/12/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The education funding spotlight for the upcoming legislative session could be on the Kansas Supreme Court.

The Court is expected to rule early this year on the Gannon v. Kansas lawsuit. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court after a three-judge panel decision Kansas should spend more on K-12 education finance.

A ruling upholding that decision could impact both K-12 and higher education funding.

USD 489 Superintendent Dean Katt told board of education members Tuesday night he's anxious for the session to start, "so we have some idea what to expect next year."

While many expect the court to favor schools, "where's the money come from, if they do say they need to fund it a little bit more," Katt said.

Fort Hays State University President Edward Hammond is hopeful about higher education funding, if the court ruling doesn't enter the equation.

"Further cuts would be devastating," he said. "I'm hopeful we'll be successful in not having any further cuts because that's the budget director's recommendation."

Hammond also is optimistic some cuts such as last year's cap and control could be restored.

He doesn't have "a good read" on whether new requests, such as an investment in the university's information system engineering program, will be funded.

His optimism hinges on the court decision.

If the court mandates more money for K-12 education, it could signal more cuts rather than funds restored, Hammond said.