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Kansas City, Kansas, Announces Deep Cuts In Response To School Funding Legislation

Sam Zeff

As Kansas educators await a district court ruling on the constitutionality of block grant funding passed by the Legislature this session, one local school district says it will be forced to make deep cuts.

Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools will eliminate 30 positions for the 2015-16 school year, including the district’s chief of human resources and a team that helps manage state assessments. The district also plans a 10 percent across-the-board reduction to all school and department budgets, and a cut of nearly a million dollars in funding for alternative services. The district will also cut spending on textbooks by $350,000.

“We have cut more than $50 million in the past seven years, and there is no longer any fat left to be cut,” Superintendent Cynthia Lane said in a news release. “We are forced to make cuts to things that really matter to our work.”

Lane emphasized the need to make cuts across the board, including at the top. The human resources position is a part of her leadership team. The loss of the human resources position will mean shifting some personnel matters back to building principals and teacher leaders, which Lane says could cut into time used for improving classroom instruction.

The cuts are a direct result of block grant legislation, says David Smith, the school district's chief of staff.

“But more importantly," Smith says, "it’s the Legislature’s failure to adequately fund public education in Kansas. We will try to spread the pain in ways to make it difficult to detect but we are cutting things that directly affect kids.”

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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