SHAWNEE, Kan. -- School districts across Kansas are facing some very serious funding problems and one local district just outlined how deep the cuts will be starting next year.
In a worst case scenario, the Shawnee Mission Schools are facing $12-million in cuts.
According to Superintendent Jim Hinson, it’s all due to lawmakers inability to properly finance schools in Kansas.
"I don’t see any scenario where we will see an increase in revenue," Dr. Hinson said. "The likelihood we will see the same amount of revenue is small. The likelihood we will lose millions of dollars we’re currently receiving is pretty high."
At Monday night’s School Board Meeting, Dr. Hinson said the Shawnee Mission School District is already facing a $4-million shortfall due to annual staff raises and rising health insurance costs. But with increased enrollment and other rising costs, he sees the district needing to find an extra $7-to-$8 million in funding to cover those costs.
The expectation right now is the Legislature will continue to fund schools next year with the same amount of money – or block grant – the district received this past year – which doesn’t take into consideration inflation and rising costs.
Dr. Hinson said he does not expect to see any increase in state funding for the next school year. In the worst case scenario, the district would have to make major cuts that would impact class sizes along with the programs and services the district currently offers.
"We’re looking at where we can cut and where we can cut is multiple millions of dollars," Dr. Hinson said. "That’s the reality for the situation we are dealing with right now."
Lawmakers are currently debating school funding in Topeka, so they hope to know more about the district’s financial future in the coming days.
"I don’t want to scare anybody at all, but we need to be realistic," Dr. Hinson said. "What we are facing will have very significant impact on the programs, services and class sizes we currently have in the Shawnee Mission School District."
It’s not just Shawnee Mission facing this financial dilemma.
Every school district faces the same situation – the block grant does not account for rising enrollment and other costs.
So unless lawmakers find money to add to the school funding budget, many school districts will face potential cuts in the coming school year.