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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries
Montoy v. State, Docket 92032
September 9, 2005

Summaries and press releases are prepared by Ron Keefover, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Judicial Center, 301 West 10th, Topeka, KS 66612-1507 (785-296-2256), e-mail: keefoverr@kscourts.org.

RE: Appeal No. 92,032: Montoy v. State (January 3, 2005)

Concurring opinions on behalf of three members of the Supreme Court were filed today as part of the decision that was filed in this litigation last January. The three justices filing their concurrences agreed with the result announced earlier by the Court, but they also would hold that education is a fundamental right under the Kansas Constitution.

Today's concurring opinions do not change the effect of the Supreme Court decision that was announced on January 3, just before the start of the 2005 legislative session. Concurring opinions are used by appellate judges to express their additional legal analysis leading to a court's majority decision.

In today's filing, a concurring opinion authored by Justice Carol A. Beier was joined by Justice Robert E. Davis. Justice Marla J. Luckert also wrote a separate concurring opinion in which she agreed with Justice Beier's rationale and affirmed her reading of an opinion in an earlier school finance case authored by Justice Luckert when she was still a Shawnee County district judge.

Today's concurring opinions will be appended to the original January 3 decision when they are published in the official Kansas Reports. The concurrences also are currently available online at the Court's website, www.kscourts.org.

In her concurring opinion, Justice Beier said she disagreed with a 1994 Kansas Supreme Court decision holding that education is not a fundamental right, a holding "implicitly" affirmed in the January 3 decision. However, she and Justices Davis and Luckert would still adhere to a rational basis standard of review for statutes dealing with school financing in Kansas as long as inequities in the system do not become so "egregious that they actually or functionally deny the fundamental right to education to a segment of otherwise similarly situated students."

Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution provides: "The legislature shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools, educational institutions and related activities." And further that: "The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state."