State Finance Council decides fate of 38 Kansas schools

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The State Finance Council has finally spoken, and the fates of 38 school districts in Kansas awaiting extra aid can now finalize their budgets.

We’ve been telling you about two school districts in Northeast Kansas who have more students than anticipated for this school year, and were among those asking for extra money.

Not a single one of those 38 districts got the full amount of money they originally requested.

That includes districts in Riley and Pottawatomie Counties.

Although a number of those districts are dealing with more students and don’t have the resources to serve them, they have to find a way to make do with what they’ve been given.

“It’ll be the same situation we’re always facing which is you have limited resources and a lot of needs,” said Darrel Stufflebeam, Superintendent of Rock Creek School District.

He’s referring to the $140,000 in funding the State Finance Council granted to the District Monday, although that’s substantially less than the $230,000 dollars they requested.

Rock creek fared better than their neighbors Manhattan-Ogden, which only got $25,000 of their almost $500,000 request.

“On one hand, I’m grateful that we received extra funding, on the other hand, under normal circumstances we wouldn’t have to ask for this, and we would’ve received a lot more,” said Stufflebeam.

That’s not how the Finance Council looks at it. They say without the new block grant program the districts would have not even had the chance to ask for more money.

So they limited the additional money for enrollment growth at two-percent or more, or about $2 million. Districts who didn’t have enough income from property taxes fared slightly better.

In all, the districts were asking for about $15 million, the state had just over $12 million available and they gave the schools less than half of that.

“You don’t know what else may come up during the year. Last year we had two State Finance Council Meetings on Extraordinary needs funds, and each time the districts, sometimes new districts came in with issues. I think probably a lot of the council members don’t want to spend the whole fund at the first meeting,” said Gov. Sam Brownback.

So now all those school districts have to figure out how to make do for the rest of the school year.

And remember all that information about efficiency we told you the council requested last week?

Not a single word was said about the district’s answers Monday.

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