Kansas schools express concerns over funding

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – On Wednesday, Republican Governor Sam Brownback called the Kansas lawmakers back to the statehouse for a special session.

In his press conference, Brownback said he wants legislators to focus on fixing a school funding formula the Kansas Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional.

The special session starts at 8 a.m. on June 23; a week before a decision needs to be made.

At the conference, Brownback addressed the tight timeline.

“You almost have to get it up against a deadline to get enough of an agreement where every body wears out the idea they have,” he said. Later he said he hopes the legislature can reach a decision in one day but that these are “complicated and emotional issues.”

And now, local school leaders are worried about what happens if a decision isn’t made.

“We’re hoping for the best and planning for the worst,” said Martin Weishaar with USD 437.

KSNT News sent surveys to the districts in and surrounding Topeka to see what educators had to say about issues like reserve funds and what they might have to do to keep the schools operating.

Shawnee Heights USD 450

Junction City USD 475

Emporia School District USD 253

Manhattan-Ogden USD 383

Auburn Washburn USD 437

“We don’t know if we can come in and write checks, open the building up, pay our utility bills, pay our other bills,” Weishaar said.

If lawmakers can not reach a decision, the Kansas Supreme Court will step in to dictate what schools can do.

“We’re just in a holding pattern and going through and making contingency plans for every different aspect,” said Corbin Witt, Superintendent with USD 475.



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