In May 1992, Kansas Governor Joan Finney signed into law a new school finance formula that adversely affected several south-western Kansas counties.  These laws raised taxes and shifted state education funding away from rural school districts and into more urban areas. In reaction to this, a group headed by Don O. Concannon advocated the secession of a number of counties from the state.
The group organized a series of straw polls that demonstrated widespread support for secession in nine counties from south-western Kansas:  Grant, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Kiowa, Meade, Morton, Stanton, and Stevens. 
On September 11, 1992, a constitutional convention was convened in Ulysses, Kansas, at which it was decided to call the new state "West Kansas".  A state bird (the pheasant), and a state flower (the yucca) were also chosen. 
The West Kansas secession movement ended rather quickly, and a formal petition for secession was never presented to the Kansas legislature.  Seventeen affected school districts filed lawsuits, but at the end of 1994, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the 1992 act. 
Peter J. McCormick noted in 1995 that "the real differences between the southwest and the rest of Kansas remain, however, as do issues of school control and unfair taxation." 
- McCormick, Peter J. (Fall 1995). "The 1992 Secessionist Movement in Southwest Kansas". Great Plains Quarterly. 15 (4): 247–258. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
- Overby, Peter (December 1992). "We're outta here!". Common Cause Magazine. 18 (4): 23.
- Kauffman, Bill (March 1995). "Smaller Is Beautifuller". The American Enterprise. p. 37. Archived from the original on February 14, 2007.