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School Finance in Kentucky


Justin Bathon

on 21 July 2009

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Transcript of School Finance in Kentucky

An Overview of School Finance in Kentucky
ungraded primary school
mandated curriculum
school peformance evaluations
compensation restrictions
compulsory attendance 16 > 18
replaced Supt. of Instruction with Commissioner of Educ.
school based decision making
abolished nepotism
money for technology & PD
Justin Bathon, JD/Ph.D.
July 21, 2009
Rose v. Council for Better Education
Council for Better Education
Kentucky Education
circa 1988
Franklin County Court - Judge Ray Corns:

Kentucky's current method of school finance fails to provide all of Kentucky's Common School students the substantially equal educational opportunities which should be afforded in an efficient system of Common Schools throughout the state. Under the present method of public school finance, students in the property poor Districts are offered an inferior minimum level of educational opportunities, which are below the educational opportunities offered to students in the relatively more affluent districts. Kentucky's current method of school finance invidiously discriminates against a substantial percentage of the state's Common School students on the basis of their place of residence. This is an unnatural distinction with no reasonable relationship to the state's duty to provide all Common School students with a substantially equal, free public education. The evidence reflects that two (2) primary reasons for this dilemma is the low value placed on education and a fear that the cure would kill the doctor.
1884: Claybrook v. City of Owensboro
African American taxpayers sued Owensboro
and law that declared White taxes to support
White schools and Black taxes to support Black schools was found unconstitutional.
1891: Kentucky Legislature Adds Sec. 183 to Kentucky Constitution
"The General Assembly shall, by appropriate legislation, provide for an efficient system of common schools throughout the state."
Brown v. Board of Education
"Separate Educational Facilities
are Inherently Unequal"
San Antonio v. Rodriguez
1. No Federal Constitutional Right to Education
- Litigation Shifts to States
2. Opened Door to State Finance Suits based on
Local Tax Burden
Other State Finance Litigation
New Jersey, California, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Others Already were Fighting School Finance Cases and Some were Winning
Pre-Rose Statistics in Kentucky
Most illiterate citizenry in U.S.
Illiteracy rate of 48.4% in Appalachia
43rd in per pupil expenditure
47th in nation in per capita expenditures by state and local government
49th in nation in college attainment
Last in adults with high school diplomas
Source: Dawahare, Public School Reform: Kentucky's Solution, 27 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 27 (Fall, 2004).
Non- Kentucky Developments
Gov. Bert Combs
66 school districts
7 school boards
several children
State Board
Speaker of House
President of Senate
Immediate Appeal
(1) Common schools are established, maintained and funded by the Kentucky General Assembly
(2) Common schools are free to all
(3) Common schools are available to all Kentucky school children
(4) Common schools are substantially uniform throughout the state
(5) Common schools provide equal educational opportunities regardless of a student's residence or economic circumstanceS
(6) The General Assembly monitors common schools to assure that they operate without waste, duplication, mismanagement, or political influence
(7) Common schools in Kentucky exist because all children have a constitutional right to an adequate education
(8) The General Assembly is to provide adequate funding to ensure an adequate education for each child in Kentucky
(9) An efficient system of common schools must, at the very least, provide every child with the following seven capacities:
(a) Sufficient oral and written communication skills to enable students to function in a complex and rapidly changing civilization
(b) Sufficient knowledge of economic, social, and political systems to enable the student to make informed choices
(c) Sufficient understanding of governmental processes to enable the student to understand the issues that affect his or her community, state, and nation
(d) Sufficient self-knowledge and knowledge of his or her mental and physical wellness
(e) Sufficient grounding in the arts to enable each student to appreciate his or her cultural and historical heritage
(f) Sufficient training or preparation for advanced training in either academic or vocational fields so as to enable each child to choose and pursue life work intelligently
(g) Sufficient levels of academic or vocational skills to enable public school students to compete favorably with their counterparts in surrounding states, in academic or in the job market
We have decided one legal issue -- and one legal issue only -- that the General Assembly of the Commonwealth has failed to establish an efficient system of common schools throughout the Commonwealth.

Lest there be any doubt, the result of our decision is that Kentucky's entire system of common schools is unconstitutional. There is no allegation that only part of the common school system is invalid, and we find no such circumstance. This decision applies to the entire sweep of the system -- all its parts and parcels. This decision applies to the statutes creating, implementing and financing the system and to all regulations, etc., pertaining thereto. This decision covers the creation of local school districts, school boards, and the Kentucky Department of Education to the Minimum Foundation Program and Power Equalization Program. It covers school construction and maintenance, teacher certification -- the whole gamut of the common school system in Kentucky.

While individual statutes are not herein addressed specifically or considered and declared to be facially unconstitutional, the statutory system as a whole and the interrelationship of the parts therein are hereby declared to be in violation of Section 183 of the Kentucky Constitution. Just as the bricks and mortar used in the construction of a schoolhouse, while contributing to the building's facade, do not ensure the overall structural adequacy of the schoolhouse, particular statutes drafted by the legislature in crafting and designing the current school system are not unconstitutional in and of themselves. Like the crumbling schoolhouse which must be redesigned and revitalized for more efficient use, with some component parts found to be adequate, some found to be less than adequate, statutes relating to education may be reenacted as components of a constitutional system if they combine with other component statutes to form an efficient and thereby constitutional system.

Since we have, by this decision, declared the system of common schools in Kentucky to be unconstitutional, Section 183 places an absolute duty on the General Assembly to re-create, re-establish a new system of common schools in the Commonwealth. As we have said, the premise of this opinion is that education is a basic, fundamental constitutional right that is available to all children within this Commonwealth. The General Assembly should begin with the same premise as it goes about its duty. The system, as we have said, must be efficient, and the criteria we have set out are binding on the General Assembly as it develops Kentucky's new system of common schools.
The Decision: Justice Stevens, for the Majority (p. 215)
Nine Requirements of an Efficient System of Schools
Kentucky Education Reform Act
SEEK Formula
Support Education Excellence in Kentucky
Per Pupil Funding, Based on Attendance
Maximum Class Sizes
Takes Transportation Costs, At-Risk and Disabled Children Into Account
Tiered Levels to Equalize Disparity + Caps
Current Formula: 702 KAR 3:270
NY Times:
"The most sweeping education package ever conceived by a state legislature"
2004: Young v. Williams
Case Dismissed, But Not Appealed
The Future of
School Finance
in Kentucky
1997: Gatton Analysis
Revenue per student showed no statistical relationship to per capita income
Unrest is growing...
2008 KERA/CATS Legislation seen as weakening KERA
Full transcript