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Many Kansas School Districts Feeling The Budget Pinch

Sam Zeff
KCUR 89.3

Next week Kansas lawmakers will resume hammering out a budget for next year and trying to fill a $400 million deficit over the next two years.

But school districts all over the state are already feeling some pain.

Lower than expected revenue has already resulted in school budgets being cut for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

A new tally from the Kansas Association of School Boards shows 26 districts across the state that have either cut spending or anticipates doing so in the next eight weeks.

In the metro area, Louisburg says it will ask for $128,000 from an extraordinary needs fund created by block grant legislation signed into law this session.

Eudora says it will consider a combination of ways to save money.

"Flat funding with growing enrollment, together with increased operational expenses, have placed us in a position where we must consider a combination of district budget cuts and student fee increases," wrote Eudora Superintendent Steve Splichal in his blog. "Flat funding is a product of the Kansas Legislature and our governor."

Many smaller district have resorted to much more drastic cuts, according to the KASB.

Lakin in southwest Kansas, with just 270 students, has cut four teachers, two paraprofessionals and cut elementary summer school.

In the Barnes-Hanover-Linn District just north of Manhattan there will be no regular education summer school and the board has already cut two teachers and several assistant coach for next year.

Several districts, including Shawnee Heights in Topeka, are closing several days early.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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