Key Dates in Kansas School Finance History

Published January 1, 2004

November 8, 1966: Voters approve a constitutional amendment establishing a 10-member State Board of Education having “general supervision” over public schools, with the legislature required to “make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.”

September 10, 1990: Officials with 31 school districts file a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state’s school finance formula, saying they receive less than a proportionate share of the funding for elementary and secondary education.

October 14, 1991: Shawnee County District Court Judge Terry Bullock issues a pretrial opinion finding the state’s school finance formula unconstitutional.

May 5, 1992: Legislators approve a new school finance formula, providing money on a per-pupil basis.

December 2, 1994: The Kansas Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the school finance formula.

May 21, 1999: Administrators and parents of students in the Salina and Dodge City school districts file state and federal lawsuits, claiming the finance formula is unconstitutional and violates the equal protection rights of minority and poor students.

November 21, 2001: Bullock dismisses the lawsuit.

January 24, 2003: The Kansas Supreme Court reverses Bullock’s decision to dismiss the case, ordering a trial in Shawnee County District Court.

September 22-October 1, and November 25, 2003: Bullock hears testimony and closing arguments in the school finance lawsuit.

December 2, 2003: Bullock issues preliminary order saying the school finance formula is unconstitutional, and he tells the legislature and executive branch to fix the flaws.

January 12, 2004: Start of 2004 legislative session.

July 1, 2004: Deadline imposed by Judge Bullock for fixing the school finance formula, and the start of the state’s 2005 fiscal year.

Source: Dodge City Daily Globe Online