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Shawnee Mission School District Worried About State Budget Cuts

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The Shawnee Mission school board keeps hearing the same message: prepare yourselves for a possible cut in state aid in the next three months.

By Friday,  we’re going to know how much Kansas collected in taxes in March, and all predictions are that it will be another month of missing projections.

Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson again warned the board Monday that poor revenue collections could mean the state would not fully fund schools during the current fiscal year.

This comes right when the district should be completing its new budget.

“Really, the unknown. That’s the sleepless night part of it is the unknown,” says Hinson. “Right now, we’re not looking at any potential layoffs. We’re not looking at any programs to be eliminated for financial reasons either.”

Hinson says if Gov. Sam Brownback is forced to make cuts because of March tax collections or because revenue is revised downward significantly when the Consensus Revenue group meets on April 20 then everything is on the table depending on how deep the cuts might go.

“If the cuts, if they do occur, if they’re hundreds of thousands, that’s one thing. If they get into multiple millions, that would be an entirely different scenario,” Hinson says.

In other Shawnee Mission school board action Monday night:

  • The board approved buying land in Westwood now owned by Entercom Broadcasting for about $1.4 million. The land may be used to build a new Westwood View Elementary School.
  • The board also approved buying  6.4 acres of land located at 6445 Carter Avenue in Merriam for a possible new school.
  • Approved $28 million bond issue for a new district administrative office.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @samzeff.

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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