Nearly 40 Kansas school districts will be asking a panel of lawmakers Monday for additional state funding. The requests are from districts that have seen falling property values because of reduced oil prices or have seen increases in their student populations. Those are variables not taken into account in the state’s new block grant system for school funding.
Lawmakers have also asked these districts to provide examples of how they're saving money through efficiency. David Smith is a spokesperson for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, which is asking for the so-called “extraordinary needs funds” because of a growth of 500 students. He says they take efficiency seriously, but he doesn’t see how that’s connected to their needs based on student growth.
“There really was not anything in the creation of the Extraordinary Needs Fund which spoke to efficiency, so again, it seems disconnected, but we’re very open and transparent in our work and we’re glad to be able to share what we’re doing,” says Smith.
Some lawmakers on the panel have said that since they're doling out state dollars it’s relevant to make sure schools are spending money efficiently. The extra funding for schools is capped at around $12 million, but the requests total $15 million.