No one knows how much money schools need to achieve required outcomes while also making efficient use of taxpayer money because no such analysis has ever been done in Kansas. The Augenblick & Myers cost study upon which the Montoy court ruling was based was supposed to include efficiency but they admittedly excluded efficiency from their calculations. A follow-up report from Kansas Legislative Post Audit stipulates that they weren’t asked to take the efficient organization and operation of schools into account.
The March 2014 Supreme Court ruling also established a new test to determine whether schools are adequately funded. Their first test is whether students are meeting or exceeding the Rose outcome capacities and if they are, the Court says funding must therefore be adequate even if not ‘optimal.’ School districts and the Department of Education, however, openly admit that they don’t know how to measure performance against the Rose capacities. Accordingly, when the Supreme Court takes up the appeal on adequate funding, it will be challenging for the Plaintiff school districts to prove they lack sufficient funding to achieve the Rose capacities if they cannot measure performance against Rose.
The Court’s new test on adequacy also stipulates that all funding sources, including Federal and KPERS pension funding, should be considered. That is a significant expansion from previous adequacy rulings, which primarily focused on a portion of state funding.
Article Six of the Kansas Constitution requires the Legislature to “…make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state” but it does not preclude the Legislature from taking efficient use of taxpayer money into account. That has not been the case thus far, but 73 percent of Kansans believe there should be some efficiency requirements included in school funding; only 20 percent disagree. See Question #2 here for documentation of the scientific survey, including geographic and ideological breakouts on Kansans expectation for efficiency in school funding.
Further discussion of the March 2014 Supreme Court ruling by Mike O’Neal, an attorney and former Speaker of the House, can be found here.