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Kansas Panel Trims Back and Approves School District Funding Requests

Governor Brownback talks to reporters after the meeting. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

A state panel scaled back, then approved, various requests for additional funding from Kansas school districts Monday. In total, they approved $6 million in additional funding. Nearly 40 districts asked for more money to pay for student population growth or reductions in property values. Additional funds were approved for most districts, but the increases were less than the schools had requested.

The state panel awarded extra funds for schools with enrollment growth of more than 2 percent. One of the panel members, Governor Sam Brownback, says the key is determining what level of increased enrollment represents an extraordinary need.

“Is a 1 percent student population increase extraordinary? As the debate goes forward, it seems like that’s something that most places would be able to handle. Two percent? That would be extraordinary,” says Brownback
The 2 percent growth rule completely eliminated three districts that had asked for more funding. Bonner Springs Superintendent Dan Brungardt says they’ll have to educate 40 more students with no extra money.
“As we increase students we increase needs. We‘re adding additionally five teachers this year for the same amount of money as last year. That comes from somewhere else and that’ll just make less of everything else we have,” says Brungardt.
The Olathe school district also won’t get any extra funding to cover more than 100 additional students. Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools will get an additional $400,000. KCK had requested more than $2 million. There was originally $12 million in the extraordinary needs fund, leaving around $6 million remaining for the current year.

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