K-12 Public Education in the Kansas Courts: 1980-2009
University of Kansas
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
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ABSTRACT This study provides a comprehensive overview and summary of the published federal and state court cases involving Kansas public schools from 1980-2009. The results of this dissertation may be used as a resource by scholars and public school administrators seeking knowledge of the types of cases typically heard in Kansas courts. This study also compares the amount and type of education litigation in Kansas from 1980-2009 to that found in Kansas from the late 1800's through 1980. The purpose of this comparison is to determine whether the rate and type of litigation heard in Kansas state and federal courts has changed over the years. This dissertation contains 173 briefs of Kansas public education cases reaching the Kansas court system from 1980-2009. Cases within the study were found through a search of the Westlaw database. When doing this search and selecting cases for inclusion, those cases that were repealed or amended and those that are unpublished opinions were not included in this dissertation. Therefore, this study does not include all cases heard in the Kansas Courts regarding public education. It only includes those that were reported and are considered good law. Summaries of the cases within this study have been placed into categories based upon different types of education-related litigation. Each chapter is composed of cases within a specific category and is arranged in chronological order. A conclusion summarizes the findings and provides data tables. Findings from this study show how the types of education litigation in Kansas have changed over the years. Challenges to the state funding formula, cases involving employee termination or nonrenewal, special education litigation, and negligence claims brought against school employees have all increased in Kansas. These findings would indicate that Kansas public school administrators would be wise to familiarize themselves with state laws and statutes pertaining to due process and nonrenewal procedures for employees. An increase in the number of special education cases shows a need for heightened awareness of state and federal regulations regarding special education requirements. Concerning the increase in negligence cases, school districts may want to ensure that all personnel are well versed in the elements of negligence and are aware of the measures that can be taken to avoid that type of litigation.