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Topeka Kansas 66612-1507

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Telephone:
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News Releases Archive
Kansas Judicial Branch - News Releases for 2005

10/27/05 | 06/03/05 | 05/24/05 | 05/23/05 | 05/03/05 (justice nominees) | 05/03/05 (school finance)


State of Kansas
Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

For More Information,
Contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 27, 2005

Sixteen Topeka attorneys have submitted their name to succeed Shawnee County District Judge Eric Rosen, who has been appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court. The deadline was 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The applicants will be interviewed by the Third Judicial District Nominating Commission November 4. The commission will then submit the names of at least two but not more than three persons to the governor for appointment. The governor will have 30 days in which to make the appointment. The new judge will stand for election in a retention vote in 2008.

Submitting applications for the position are Joseph D. Johnson, Shawn S. Leisinger, William C. Rein, Teresa L. Sittenauer, Jerold E. Berger, B.J. Hickert, Cheryl Lynne Whelan, James M. Crowl, Mark Stafford Braun, James E. "Jeb" Benfer, Brian Manuel Vazquez, Gary Carl West, John James Knoll, Athena E. Andaya, Lloyd C. Swartz and Wm. Scott Hesse.


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

June 3, 2005

TO: Statehouse Media

FROM: Ron Keefover

RE: Ryan Montoy et al. v. State of Kansas et al.
        Appeal No. 92,032

The Supreme Court today unanimously ordered school funding for the coming school year to be increased no later than July 1 from approximately $142 million appropriated by the 2005 Legislature to $285 million above the past school year's level of funding.

The figure is one-third of the $853 million amount recommended by a consulting firm retained by the 2001 Legislature to determine the cost of educating students in Kansas.

"The case is extraordinary, but the imperative remains that we decide it on the record before us," the Court said in the decision. The State cites no cost study or evidence to rebut the 2001 study by Augenblick & Myers, the consultants retained by the Legislature. "Thus the A&M study is the only analysis resembling a legitimate cost study before us."

"Accordingly, at this point in time, we accept it as a valid basis to determine the cost of a constitutionally adequate public education in kindergarten through the 12th grade. The alternative is to await yet another study, which itself may be found legislatively or judicially unacceptable, and the school children of Kansas would be forced to further await a suitable education." The Court noted that the present suit was filed in 1999.

The Court also said a suggestion by the State Board of Education that the 2005 legislation be accepted as an interim step toward a full remedy is initially attractive, but arguments by the plaintiffs and numerous "friends of the court" briefs present compelling arguments for an immediate fix. "They remind us that we cannot continue to ask current Kansas students to 'be patient.' The time for their education is now," the Court wrote.

However, in deference to a Legislative Post Audit cost study analysis mandated by the 2005 session, the "implementation beyond the 2005-06 school year will be contingent upon the results of the study and this opinion."

"Further, if (1) the post-audit study is not completed or timely submitted for the legislature to consider and act upon it during the 2006 session, (2) the post-audit study is judicially or legislatively determined not to be a valid cost study, or (3) legislation is not enacted which is based upon actual and necessary costs of providing a suitable system of finance and which equitably distributes the funding, we will consider, among other remedies, ordering that, at a minimum, the remaining two-thirds ($568 million) in increased funding based upon the A&M study be implemented for the 2006-07 school year."

"Clearly, the legislature's obligation will not end there; the costs of education continue to change and constant monitoring and funding adjustments are necessary. H.B. 2247's provisions regarding establishment of the 2010 Commission and mandating annual increases based upon the Consumer Price Index may satisfy these demands, but the legislature may seek other means to assure that Kansas school children, now and in the future, receive a constitutionally adequate education.

"In addition, . . . the new funding authorized by [the 2005 session] regarding the increased Local Option Budget authority over 25 percent, the cost-of-living weighting; and both extraordinary declining enrollment provisions are stayed." The Court left the remainder of the legislation intact.

The Court said it "readily" acknowledges that "our present remedy is far from perfect; indeed, we acknowledge that it is merely a balancing of several factors." Among the factors the Court listed are:

  • The ever-present need for Kansas school children to receive a constitutionally adequate education.
  • The role of the Court as defined in the Kansas Constitution
  • The need for the legislature to bring its school finance legislation into constitutional compliance, with acknowledgment of the unique difficulties inherent in the legislative process.
  • And the press of time caused by the rapidly approaching school year.

"Accordingly, we retain jurisdiction of this appeal. If necessary, further action will be taken by this court as is deemed advisable to ensure compliance with this opinion," the Court concluded.


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 24, 2005

The names of three persons were submitted to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius Tuesday as nominees for appointment to a vacancy on the state Supreme Court that was created by the March 30th death of Justice Robert L. Gernon.

They include Martha J. Coffman, Lawrence; Douglas County District Judge Robert W. Fairchild and Shawnee County District Judge Eric S. Rosen. Gov. Sebelius will have 60 days in which to make the appointment. The three have been nominated by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, which conducted interviews throughout the day Monday.

Coffman is the Director of Advisory Counsel for the Kansas Corporation Commission. As such, she serves as legal advisor to the three commissioners. Before joining the KCC in 2000, she served as Director of the Office of Central Research for the Kansas Court of Appeals for nine years. Other public service appointments include serving as a Supreme Court research attorney, assistant appellate defender, and the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project at the University of Kansas School of Law. Upon graduation from law school, she maintained a private law practice.

She earned both her law degree and BA from KU. She also has a MA degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.

Judge Fairchild is currently chief judge of the one-county 7th Judicial District, which consists of Douglas County. He became a district judge in 1996 and was appointed chief judge in January 2002. Prior his appointment to the bench, Judge Fairchild had been in private practice in Lawrence since 1973.

He received a BA degree in economics from Texas Tech University in May 1970, and was graduate from the KU law school in May 1973.

Judge Rosen has been a Shawnee County District Court judge since 1993. He began his legal career upon his graduation from the Washburn University Shool of Law in 1984 when he served as an assistant public defender. He then served as an assistant district attorney and later as associate general counsel to the Kansas Securities Commission before entering the private practice of law in 1990.

In addition to an MS and a BS degree from KU, Judge Rosen has completed the Law and Economic Institute for Judges at KU and the Judges' General Jurisdiction course at the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada in Reno, Nevada.


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2005

The names of 13 persons were submitted by the noon Tuesday deadline as nominees to fill a vacancy created on the Supreme Court that was created by the March 30th death of Justice Robert L. Gernon.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will review the applications and conduct interviews May 23-24, with the names of three on the list to be submitted to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius shortly after for appointment.

(Attached is a list of the applicants.)


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2005

On May 19-22, Supreme Court Justice Robert Davis, Johnson County District Judge Stephen Tatum, Olathe; District Judge Robert Fairchild, Lawrence; and Denise Kilwein, Director of Judicial Education, Office of Judicial Administration, attended the Advance Leadership Institute in Judicial Education.

The Advance Leadership Institute is a project designed to assist states in improving their judicial training. The Institute focuses on techniques of teaching, curriculum design, and adult education principles.

The Institute is funded by the State Justice Institute and held at the University of Memphis. The State Justice Institute (SJI) is a non-profit organization established by federal law to award grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts nationwide, facilitate better coordination between state and federal courts, and foster innovative, efficient solutions to common problems faced by all courts.


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2005

Thanks to the cooperative efforts of a number of entities, oral arguments involving the constitutionality of the state's school finance act will be made available live over the Internet and be the subject of a half-hour educational program on each of the state's public television stations. The arguments are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. May 11 in the Supreme Court courtroom in the Judicial Center in Topeka.

Representatives of Wichita's KPTS Public Television will serve as pool television representative and oversee the production of a half-hour production of the oral arguments. The public television broadcasts will provide statewide coverage and are scheduled to be aired over the weekend of May 13-15, on the state's public television stations.

Meanwhile, the arguments will be video streamed over the Internet live and later made available as an archive via the Kan-ed Live! Project operated by Kan-ed, a division of the Kansas Board of Regents. Links and instructions for accessing the live broadcasts will be included on the Kansas courts website, and on the Kan-ed project at www.kanedlive.org

There will not be a decision reached on this matter May 11. Rather, as in the case of all appellate courts, the matter will be conferenced by the justices in chambers, researched and deliberated before a draft of an opinion (or opinions) is circulated to the full court for final release. Technical information for accessing the Internet video stream is attached.

Both the Kansas Reserch and Education Network (KanREN) and the Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK) have joined Kan-ed and KPTS in making this netcast possible.