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School Funding Cuts Could Help Balance the Kansas Budget

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan explaining the budget proposals before a legislative committee.  (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

Governor Sam Brownback is proposing three ways to deal with a budget shortfall. One of the plans would cut most state agencies and higher education by 3 to 5 percent. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, that also includes a $57 million cut to K-12 education.

David Smith, a spokesperson for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, says it would be a tough to revamp their budgets when the new fiscal year starts in July.

“You remember when the block grants were passed? One of the promises was that this would create stability for districts. Here it is, April, the year is almost done,” says Smith.

Districts may need to cut staff, classes and even shorten the school year to absorb the cut.

State Budget director Shawn Sullivan says excluding schools from cuts would impact other services.

“If K-12 is not included at $57 million, you then have to add to the other agencies that would be affected. Higher ed, Medicaid would get a much higher reduction,” says Sullivan.
Over the next year-and-a-half, the state needs to find nearly $300 million in funding cuts or new revenue to balance the budget.

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