TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court issued an order Wednesday altering deadlines for submitting legal briefs in an education finance case due to an error in the five-year, $525 million funding bill narrowly passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jeff Colyer.
Chief Justice Lawton Nuss signed the order granting Attorney General Derek Schmidt and lawyers for the four plaintiff school districts until May 7 to deliver initial briefs and until May 14 to submit rebuttal briefs. Schmidt requested revision of the schedule in the long-running Gannon case.
The bill signed by Colyer represented an attempt to bring state aid to K-12 public schools into compliance with the Kansas Constitution.
The Supreme Court had ruled in October the money distributed to school districts was unequal and inadequate. The justices established an April 30 deadline for adoption of a remedy for violations of Article 6 of the constitution.
Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, and House Majority Leader Don Hineman, R-Dighton, said a bill fixing the $80 million miscue could be placed on Colyer's desk after the Legislature reconvenes Thursday. Lawmakers can remove the problematic portion from the statute or adopt a provision correcting the expenditure.
"There are at least two options still under consideration," Hineman said. "I don't want to bias that decision while we work toward consensus."
There's potential of a wide-range education policy debate in the House or Senate, given the original bill passed by the minimum number of votes in both chambers. The Legislature is due to scheduled to end the 2018 session on May 4.
The Supreme Court left unchanged the May 22 oral argument on law designed to address equity and adequacy problems. The court said in a previous order it would issue a ruling on constitutionality by June 30.