- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Latest on the Kansas Supreme Court’s hearing on a school funding lawsuit (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

The Kansas solicitor general has opened his arguments on an education funding case before the Kansas Supreme Court by telling the justices that the Legislature is entitled to substantial deference in its decisions about how much to spend on public schools.

Solicitor General Stephen McAllister appeared Wednesday before the court in a lawsuit filed in 2010 by four school districts. The state is trying to persuade the court that the state’s annual aid of nearly $4.1 billion a year to its 286 districts is sufficient.

The Dodge City, Hutchinson, Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas districts argue that legislators are hundreds of millions of dollars short each year in fulfilling their constitutional duty to give every child a suitable education.

A lower-court panel sided with the districts. The state appealed.

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2:25 a.m.

Attorneys for cash-strapped Kansas are trying to persuade the state Supreme Court not to order hundreds of millions of dollars in additional aid each year for schools.

But lawyers for four poorer local school districts, who will present arguments before the court Wednesday, say they are confident the judges will side with them.

The Dodge City, Hutchinson, Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas, districts sued in 2010. They contend legislators aren’t providing enough aid to give every child a suitable education, as required by the constitution.

The six-year legal dispute has brought the court into repeated conflict with GOP conservatives who control the rest of state government.

The justices are considering whether the state’s nearly $4.1 billion in annual aid to school districts is sufficient or up to $1.4 billion short.

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