“Devastating” losses loom according to educators if KS budget gap isn’t filled

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Tuesday marked Day 110 for lawmakers in Topeka – and still no budget. They are trying to close at $400 million hole in the budget, and if they don't raise taxes, Kansas school districts will have to slash their budgets.

Possible cuts were a hot topic Tuesday night at a school board meeting for KCK public schools, as administrators called the latest possibility of the district losing another $10.8 million “devastating.”

District leaders said the loss would hit hard during the 2015-2016 school year.

The total was included in numbers prepared Tuesday by the Kansas State Department of Education, which showed how chopping 6.2 percent from state aid would affect each school district. It’s a potential scenario if legislators can’t pass a tax package to fix the deficit.

District leaders in KCK point out that slicing $10.8 million would be on top of the more than $2 million they’ve already been forced to cut – and right now, they have no contingency plan to handle it.

“I talked to our chief financial officer,” said David Smith, chief of staff at KCKPS, “and I said, ‘What would we do? What would we do?’ And honestly, she looked at me and she had nothing. And I’m looking at you and I have nothing.”

“I have no idea how we could possibly, after already being cut 2 percent, after years and years of underfunding for education, I don’t have any idea how we would handle this.”

Other metro districts would also take a hit, including millions for Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley.

See below for a specific estimate break-down from state education leaders:

Olathe: $10.2 million
Shawnee Mission: $8.2 million
Blue Valley: $6.1 million
KCK: $10.78 million
Bonner Springs: $1 million
Piper: $617,713
Turner: $1.96 million
De Soto: $2.4 million
Gardner-Edgerton: $2 million
Spring Hill: $1.1 million