How will Kansas schools continue to educate children?
Governor Brownback used his authority to reduce state funding for K-12 education by $28.3 million in the current year in response to January revenue being $48 million short. USD 315 received a decrease in state funding of $57,932. We anticipate additional decreases in funding this year if revenues continue to drop in the state.
Keep in mind Base State Aid Per Pupil funding was $3870 in 2001 and $3852 in 2015 (minus the $57,932 decrease from the Governor). It is a challenge to provide our children a quality education that will prepare them for life with the same funding we received 14 years ago. Our world continues to change and the cost of educating children and operating a district increases yearly.
According to Duane Goossen, former Kansas Budget Director, “Seven months into fiscal year 2015, general fund receipts remain below last year’s level. That leaves a very grim outlook for the Kansas budget.
In FY 2014 revenue dropped precipitously—$688 million down in one year. Now with FY 2015 more than half over, revenue is $65 million under the anemic pace of FY 2014.
What happens if FY 2015 revenue does not grow? The FY 2015 budget was already $279 million in the hole using the assumption that revenue would reach $5.769 billion this year. The bank account is empty. A rainy day fund does not exist. If revenue fails to increase enough to meet the projection, the hole to be filled in the remaining months of FY 2015 will be even bigger. “
The Governor proposes a block grant budget for K-12 education that would significantly reduce money going to Kansas’ classrooms for the 2015-16 school year. The block grant would reduce operating funds (general, supplemental general and capital outlay) by $127 million.
The Governor’s proposal includes a $90 million increase for retirement system funding (KPERS). Whereas the state is responsible for providing money for retirement contributions, this money does not help schools. School districts are sent the KPERS funds and it is immediately redirected to the state retirement system. This year’s state budget included an increase in KPERS funding to schools. As I explained, this increase did not provide money for our district to education students attending Colby Public Schools.