History of Teacher Contracts

2006 – The State agreed to restore $500+ million to schools, then the Great Recession hit. The roots of the current conflict can be traced back to the Great Recession, which began during the 2007-08 school year.

Funding at that time was governed by terms of the Montoy school finance lawsuit, filed by school districts to remedy a decade of unconstitutionally low school funding and agreed to by the Kansas Legislature. Terms of the Montoy settlement restored hundreds of millions of dollars to school districts across the state of Kansas, beginning in 2005-06.

Three years later, the state went back on the commitments it made to settle the Montoy lawsuit.

2009 - Kansas made deep cuts to schools following recession and tax policy changes. During the 2008-09 school year, the legislature essentially breached the Montoy settlement agreement and dramatically reduced state aid, mid-school year. The deep education cuts, first triggered by the Recession, were then made permanent by Kansas tax policy changes.

SMSD was forced to cut $30 million from the district budget. In 2010, a group of school districts filed another lawsuit against the state, in a case that became known as the Gannon school funding lawsuit. After several hearings at both the District Court and the Kansas Supreme Court, school funding levels in Kansas were again declared inadequate by hundreds of millions of dollars. In April of 2018, the Kansas legislature began debate on the Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act.

2018 SMSD Unmet budgetary needs. At that time, the Shawnee Mission School District released a growing list of unmet budgetary needs totaling $15,785,009, identifying where state aid was falling short for our district. This list included:

·      adjusting the schedule for high school teachers from six classes to five ($2,930,923),

·      hiring additional social workers ($702,767), counselors and other personnel, and a pay increase for all staff.

2018 - State legislators partially fix state funding as obligated by Kansas constitution.  Back in Topeka, legislators debated amendments to a school funding formula the Court had yet to approve, including fully reimbursing districts for mandated special education costs. These amendments would have brought SMSD an additional $15,080,025 if they had passed, just shy of the amount the district needed to cover identified unmet needs in the district.

In the spring of 2018, a revised formula (without the additional amendments) was sent to the Kansas Supreme Court, which ruled that while the formula met requirements for equity, it did not meet adequacy requirements, and because it failed to include an inflation factor.

2019 – State legislators finally agree to four-year fix, from 2019 to 2023. In 2019, the legislature passed the final piece of legislation to resolve the lawsuit, which adjusted for school funding inflation over a four-year period. The bill was signed into law by Governor Kelly on April 6, 2019, and the district projects to have an additional $9,760,005 available for the 2019-20 school year, $6 million less than the amount the district anticipated needing in 2018.

In June 2019, the Court ruled that the phased-in inflation funding plan was constitutional. Districts will not be fully restored to adequate funding levels until 2023. The estimated increase to SMSD for 2020-2021 school year is just under $3 million.