School superintendent elated by court ruling
Tonganoxie school Superintendent Richard Erickson was pleased that the Kansas Supreme Court has ordered the state to double the funding for public schools. "We're excited about it," Erickson said Monday. "I believe this is a victory for our students."
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has called lawmakers to return June 22 for a special legislative session. The goal will be to come up with $285 million for schools by the court's July 1 deadline.
During the past legislative session, lawmakers approved a plan that would increase school funding by $142 million. The court's order is for lawmakers to double that amount.
"I'm very pleased with the additional funding," Erickson said. "I'm disappointed that it had to come in the form of a Supreme Court mandate. I believe a funding increase would have been much better planned by the Legislature phasing in over the past 13 years, rather than over a one to three year period of time."
During the 2004-2005 school year, Erickson said, the Tonganoxie school district received per-pupil state aid of $3,863. The Legislature's plan would have increased that amount by $115, up to $3,978 per student. No one knows how additional money will be distributed. It could be in a per-pupil increase, or fund special education or other programs.
"We'll just have to wait and see how that all plays out," Erickson said.