Archive for Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Districts feel impact from recent budget cuts

November 24, 2009

The De Soto and Shawnee Mission school districts face another round of budget cuts after Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson cut $191.8 million from K through 12 education, as part state cuts totaling nearly $260 million in an announcement made on Nov. 23.

Parkinson announcement marked the fourth set of budget cuts to state education funding since March 2009. Before the cuts were announced the state faced a nearly $260 million deficit for the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

The cuts will impact schools in two ways, first, $36 million will be cut from public school budgets. In addition, the state will not fund the additional $155.8 million in increased costs for schools. The increased costs were prompted by higher enrollment and a growing demand for free lunches.

The Governor's cuts once again decrease the base state aid per pupil to $4,012, down $206 from the beginning of the fiscal year, which began July 1.

The cuts are expected to decrease the USD 232 budget approximately $1.9 million.

USD 232's board of education will discuss a course of action at the Dec. 14 meeting, a news release said.

"As we work through this new financial reality, we will strive to maintain quality services for students as the highest priority. We will do all we can to provide the best education possible for children. This is becoming more and more difficult with each reduction and at some point we will have to make changes in the services we provide or find additional revenues to operate our schools," Ron Wimmer, superintendent of schools said in a message to patrons on the district's Web site.

The Shawnee Mission School District is estimated to lose $7.2 million in funding from the state.

In a message to USD 512 patrons from the district's Web site, superintendent Gene Johnson said the district will maintain focus on providing students with quality educational services.

"District personnel will be reviewing the latest reductions and developing a plan to address these drastic cuts using fund balances as well as identifying areas of the budget where cost savings can be realized this year and in the future. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our students and school district and communicate our concerns with legislators," Johnson said in the letter.

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