Issue Brief - Kansas Constitution

Education and the Kansas Constitution In 1859, Kansas founders made education a clear priority in the framework of our state’s governance structure. Four of the eight conditions established in the initial pages of our Constitution are devoted to establishing resources for public education. Article 6 further defines the state’s obligation for the provision of suitable finance for our public schools and the expectation for students’ educational improvements.

Kansas Constitution, Ordinance (1859)1  
... Be it ordained by the people of Kansas... That the following conditions be agreed to by congress:

1: School sections. Sections numbered sixteen and thirty-six in each township in the state, including Indian reservations and trust lands, shall be granted to the state for the exclusive use of common schools; and when either of said sections, or any part thereof, has been disposed of, other lands of equal value, as nearly contiguous thereto as possible, shall be substituted therefore.

2: University lands. That seventy-two sections of land shall be granted to the state for the erection and maintenance of a state university.

6: Proceeds to schools. That five percentum of the proceeds of the public lands in Kansas, disposed of after the admission of the state into the union, shall be paid to the state for a fund, the income of which shall be used for the support of common schools.

7: School lands. That the five hundred thousand acres of land to which the state is entitled under the act of congress entitled "An act to appropriate the proceeds of the sales of public lands and grant pre-emption rights," approved September 4th, 1841, shall be granted to the state for the support of common schools.  Read more...

Kansas Constitution, Article 6, Education (1859, 1966)2
Article 6 is comprised of seven sections that establish the state’s constitutional obligation, as it relates specifically to education. Sections related to K-12 education are noted here:

1: Schools and related institutions and activities. The legislature shall provide for intellectual, educational, vocational and scientific improvement by establishing and maintaining public schools, educational institutions and related activities which may be organized and changed in such manner as may be provided by law.

2: State board of education and state board of regents. (a) The legislature shall provide for a state board of education which shall have general supervision of public schools, educational institutions and all the educational interests of the state, except educational functions delegated by law to the state board of regents. The state board of education shall perform such other duties as may be provided by law.

3: Members of state board of education and regents.    (a) There shall be ten members of the state board of education with overlapping terms as the legislature may prescribe. The legislature shall make provision for ten member districts, each comprised of four contiguous senatorial districts. The electors of each member district shall elect one person residing in the district as a member of the board. The legislature shall prescribe the manner in which vacancies occurring on the board shall be filled.       (c) Subsequent redistricting shall not disqualify any member of either board from service for the remainder of his term. Any member of either board may be removed from office for cause as may be provided by law.

4: Commissioner of education. The state board of education shall appoint a commissioner of education who shall serve at the pleasure of the board as its executive officer.

5: Local public schools. Local public schools under the general supervision of the state board of education shall be maintained, developed and operated by locally elected boards. When authorized by law, such boards may make and carry out agreements for cooperative operation and administration of educational programs under the general supervision of the state board of education, but such agreements shall be subject to limitation, change or termination by the legislature.

6: Finance. (b) The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state. No tuition shall be charged for attendance at any public school to pupils required by law to attend such school, except such fees or supplemental charges as may be authorized by law. The legislature may authorize the state board of regents to establish tuition, fees and charges at institutions under its supervision. (c) No religious sect or sects shall control any part of the public educational funds.  Read more...

1 Kansas Constitution, Ordinance and Preamble (1859).

2 Kansas Constitution, Article Six: Education (1859, 1966).

Publication of the
Kansas PTA Advocacy Leadership (2012).
Mary Sinclair, PhD
Karen Wagner