Leadership disagree over letter from the AG on school funding

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) --- Lawmakers are feuding over when the school funding issue should be done after Democratic leadership received a letter from the Attorney General's Office.

The letter has deadlines Democrats say need to be met, but Republicans say they are guidelines and they have more time to meet a court order.

“The deadline that he has set for preparing the state’s case when it goes to hearing is March the 15th,” said Sen. Anthony Hensley (D-Topeka), the Senate Minority Leader.

Hensley asked Attorney General Derek Schmidt when school funding legislation should be finished so the state can go back to the Supreme Court.

“He wants us to have a school finance bill done before first adjournment,” he clarified.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the state must add in additional funds to account for inflation in the budget, which could equal about $360-million over the next 4 years. But Republicans say the letter is just a guideline and not a deadline.

“There are not deadlines and the legislature, respectfully doesn’t deadlines from, even well intended or well meaning, from other administrative officers,” said Senator Eric Rucker (R-Topeka).

Speaker Ron Ryckman agreed in this statement saying he appreciated Schmidt’s guidelines but, “Finding that balance may not happen overnight, and I don't think anyone wants a hurried and unvetted response.”

“The only way that proper legislative decisions are ever made is by debate, by discussion, by deliberation,” Rucker added.

The Attorney General Office has until April 15th to have briefs ready for the Supreme Court.

13 NEWS asked the Attorney General's Office if his letter was meant to be a deadline or a guideline, and his spokesperson said the letter speaks for itself.