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Can You Calculate Olathe’s School Budget Using Kansas’ Funding Formula?

The school funding formula for the state of Kansas.

In many states, funding for schools is determined by a complicated formula that adjusts the basic per pupil funding according to set of factors like how many students are considered “at-risk,” receive bilingual services, ride buses or whether enrollment is declining. A bill awaiting Gov. Sam Brownback’s signature would bypass the school funding formula for the next two years in favor of block grants to districts.

Proponents of the bill say that the current funding formula is too inflexible, over-complicated, and allows districts to receive funding for an inflated number of students. Defenders of the formula say it may not be perfect, but it allows students and districts facing greater challenges to receive increased funding.

To get a sense of how the formula works (or doesn’t), try your hand at calculating Olathe’s state funding for the 2014/2015 school year using the above formula and the following figures*:

Olathe School District Figures

(round all answers to the nearest tenth)

Adjusted Enrollment (including 4-year-old at-risk)                27,682.8   

Number of Students on Free Lunch Program (At-Risk)         6,236

Low/High Enrollment Factor                                                           (use 0.03504)

FTE Virtual Students                                                                             0

Amount of Special Education Aid                                                    25,134,307.2

Cost of Living Authorized Tax Levy                                                5,739,366

Voc. Ed Enrollment                                                                               850.2

Bilingual Ed. Enrollment                                                                    1148.41

New Facilities                                                                                          422.3

At Risk                                                                                                        0**

F(Cost of Transportation)                                                                578.9

Number of Students Traveling >= 2.5 miles                            5777

Declining Enrollment Authorized Tax Levy                               0

Ancillary School Facilities Authorized Tax Levy                      9,406,691.3

Calculate the “Total Weighted FTE” and then multiply by $3811 base per pupil funding to find how much Olathe should receive from the state of Kansas for the 2014/2015 school year.


Total Weighted FTE = 43,927.7

General Fund Budget = $167,408,464.70

* These numbers are drawn from public budget documents, but may not be exact. 

** This is not to say Olathe has no at-risk students; it's for districts with a high concentration of them.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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