Luke Gannon, by His Next Friends and Guardians, et al., Appellees,
State of Kansas, Appellant.
asserting compliance with a court decision ordering remedial
action bears the burden of establishing such compliance.
determine compliance with the adequacy requirement in Article
6 of the Kansas Constitution, Kansas courts apply the test
from Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc., 790
S.W.2d 186 (Ky. 1989), which establishes minimum standards
for providing adequate education. More specifically, the
adequacy requirement is met when the public education
financing system for grades K-12-through structure and
implementation-is reasonably calculated to have all Kansas
public education students meet or exceed the standards set
out in Rose and presently codified in K.S.A.
State has shown its proposed remedy substantially complies
with our mandate from Gannon v. State, 308 Kan. 372,
420 P.3d 477 (2018).
jurisdiction carries with it the power to review a law and
determine its constitutionality. By implication, this also
includes the inherent power to protect that jurisdiction and
enforce the holdings of the court.
from Shawnee District Court; Franklin R. Theis, Robert J.
Fleming, and Jack L. Burr, judges. The State has shown its
proposed remedy substantially complies with our mandate from
Gannon v. State, 308 Kan. 372, 420 P.3d 477 (2018). We retain
J. Crouse, solicitor general, argued the cause, and Jeffrey
A. Chanay, chief deputy attorney general, Arthur S. Chalmers,
assistant attorney general, M.J. Willoughby, assistant
attorney general, Dwight R. Carswell, assistant solicitor
general, Bryan C. Clark, assistant solicitor general, and
Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with him on the briefs
for appellant State of Kansas.
L. Rupe, of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, of
Wichita, argued the cause, and Jessica L. Skladzien, of the
same firm, and John S. Robb, of Somers, Robb & Robb, of
Newton, were with him on the briefs for appellees.
June we held the State had resolved nearly all of the issues
in this long-running school finance appeal. Gannon v.
State, 308 Kan. 372, 420 P.3d 477 (2018) (Gannon
VI). We specifically concluded that through legislation
enacted in 2017 and 2018, the State had met its burden of
complying with the equity requirements of Article 6, §
6(b) of the Kansas Constitution (obligating the Legislature
to "make suitable provision for finance of the
educational interests of the state"). 308 Kan. at
further held that the State had not met § 6(b)'s
adequacy requirement, although we acknowledged the State had
"expressed an intent to comply with the adequacy
threshold discussed in Montoy v. State, 282 Kan. 9,
138 P.3d 755 (2006) (Montoy IV)" through its
self-styled "Montoy safe harbor" plan. 308
Kan. at 374. Specifically, we held the State needed to make
timely financial adjustments in response to two inflation
problems we identified to "satisfactorily address the
remaining constitutional infirmities in adequacy appearing in
its chosen plan and particularly in the implementation."
308 Kan. at 374.
of the problems with adequacy we retained jurisdiction and
stayed the issuance of our mandate more than one year-until
June 30, 2019-or further order of the court. We reasoned this
gave the State ample opportunity to make those financial
adjustments and reach constitutional compliance. The State
now claims to have done so through legislative passage of
2019 House Substitute for Senate Bill 16 (S.B. 16), which the
Governor signed into law on April 6, 2019.
hold that through S.B. 16's additional funding of its
Montoy safe harbor plan, the State has substantially
complied with our mandate from Gannon VI. And we
retain jurisdiction to ensure continued compliance with that
and Procedural Background
case has a long history-one that dates back at least as far
as the conclusion of the last major school finance case,
Montoy IV. The Montoy litigation ended on
July 28, 2006, when we held the State had enacted legislation
in substantial compliance with our orders. Montoy
IV, 282 Kan. at 24-25. And we dismissed the case.
the State fully implemented the financial solution we
accepted in Montoy IV, however, it started making
significant cuts to education funding in school year (SY)
2008-09 (fiscal year 2009). The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit
in 2010 in response to those cuts. After a 16-day bench
trial, a three-judge district court panel concluded the State
had failed to provide suitable funding for K-12 public
education in violation of Article 6 of the Kansas
Constitution. The State appealed.
March 7, 2014, we remanded for the three-judge panel to apply
a refined test for education adequacy partially based on
Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc., 790 S.W.2d
186 (Ky. 1989), whose standards the Legislature essentially
had codified in 2005. Gannon v. State, 298 Kan.
1107, 319 P.3d 1196 (2014) (Gannon I).
Panel decision and CLASS
remand, the panel applied our refined test for adequacy and
held the Legislature underfunded education between fiscal
years (FY) 2009 and 2012.
decision led the 2015 Legislature to repeal its
longstanding-and chief- vehicle for public school financing:
the School District Finance and Quality Performance Act
(SDFQPA). The Legislature replaced the SDFQPA with the
Classroom Learning Assuring Student Success Act (CLASS).
CLASS established block grants in place of the SDFQPA formula
and froze funding levels for FY 2016 and FY 2017 at the FY
2015 level until CLASS was to expire on June 30, 2017.
review, the panel held CLASS also was unconstitutional. And
the State again appealed to this court.
Gannon II and III
next five months brought a series of legislative actions and
this court's decisions solely on the issue of §
6(b)'s equity requirement. On February 11, 2016, we
agreed with the panel that CLASS created constitutional
equity violations. Gannon v. State, 303 Kan. 682,
368 P.3d 1024 (2016) (Gannon II). After later
legislative action, we held on May 27, 2016, the inequities
had not been cured. Gannon v. State, 304 Kan. 490,
372 P.3d 1181 (2016) (Gannon III).
than one month later, the Legislature revived the structure
of the SDFQPA. The parties filed a joint stipulation agreeing
the State was now in compliance with the constitutional
equity requirement. By order filed June 28, 2016, we held the
Legislature had satisfied our orders in Gannon I,
Gannon II, and Gannon III regarding equity
for SY 2016-17. We retained jurisdiction of the case and all
issues and provided the parties time to brief and argue the
adequacy portion of the litigation yet to be decided.
Gannon IV, Gannon V, and S.B.19
March 2, 2017, we addressed the adequacy issues in Gannon
v. State, 305 Kan. 850, 390 P.3d 461 (2017) (Gannon
IV). There, we held the school finance system was
constitutionally inadequate in both structure and
implementation. In particular, the State had failed to show
that the finance system was reasonably calculated to have all
Kansas public education students meet or exceed the standards
set out in Rose, 790 S.W.2d 186. We gave the State
until June 30, 2017, to provide adequate funding. Gannon
IV, 305 Kan. at 919.
2017 Legislature responded to the adequacy structural
violation by passing 2017 Senate Bill 19 (S.B. 19), which
enacted the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act (KSEEA).
It essentially provides a base aid formula for distributing
education funds in the same way the SDFQPA had done. S.B. 19
also added $317 million over two years-FY 2018 and FY 2019.
October 2, 2017, we examined S.B. 19 in Gannon v.
State, 306 Kan. 1170, 402 P.3d 513 (2017) (Gannon
V), and rejected plaintiffs' claims that failure to
fund three statutory requirements rendered S.B. 19's
structure unconstitutional. Of significance to the issues now
before us, although millions of dollars had been added, we
also held the State had failed to meet its burden to
satisfactorily demonstrate S.B. 19 was reasonably calculated
to address the inadequate implementation of funding. And S.B.
19 created four equity violations. 306 Kan. at 1212-13. We
stayed issuance of the mandate-allowing S.B. 19 to take
effect-until June 30, 2018, giving the State sufficient time
to provide adequate funding and cure the inequities. 306 Kan.
at 1239. The KSEEA temporarily became law and is now codified
at K.S.A. 72-5131 et seq.
S.B. 423, S.B. 61, and Gannon VI
response to the funding shortfall identified in Gannon
V, the 2018 Legislature passed 2018 Substitute for
Senate Bill 423 (S.B. 423) and 2018 House Substitute for
Senate Bill 61 (S.B. 61). These bills amended the provisions
of S.B. 19 enacted in 2017. Among other things, they
scheduled adding $522 million over a five-year period-SY
2018-19 to SY 2022-23. Together with S.B. ...