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Kansas School Districts Seek $15 Million Extra In State Aid

Sam Zeff

When the State Finance Council meets next week, it's going to have some tough decisions to make. Kansas has $12.3 million in Extraordinary Needs Funds available but school districts are asking for almost $15.1 million.

A total of 38 school districts have applied for money to supplement their block grant allocations. Among the districts asking for more money are five from Johnson and Wyandotte Counties. 

Kansas City, Kansas is asking for the most of any district in the state, about $2.1 million. The district originally said it would ask for $2.7 million to help cover the cost of 500 additional students but revised that figure just before Monday's application deadline.

Olathe wants an additional $458,000 to help pay for about 200 more students this year.

When the block grant funding was passed the Legislature held back some money from districts to create the Extraordinary Needs Fund for districts that either saw a big enrollment increase or plummeting real estate values.

The Piper and Bonner Springs districts in Wyandotte County are also asking for more state aid due to enrollment increases. Piper wants an additional $239,000 and Bonner Springs is asking for $155,000.

Spring Hill in Johnson County has applied for about $618,000 more from the state.

Three school districts in Kansas have applied for both kinds of aid. Hoisington, Garden City and South Haven all claim higher enrollment and lower property values.

The State Finance Council is made up of the governor and legislative leaders. Seven of the nine members are Republicans. The council meets on Aug. 24.

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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