As budget concerns loom, SMSD superintendent says he is moving forward without contingency plans

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SHAWNEE, Kan. — The Shawnee Mission School District says it’s planning for business as usual, even though the Kansas legislature adjourned Thursday without taking action to fix the education finance formula.

Superintendent Jim Hinson says Shawnee Mission schools are planning to be fully operational on July 1, with no contingency plans and classes to resume as scheduled in August.

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that public schools need to shut down if lawmakers don’t implement an equitable school funding formula by the end of June. But Hinson says there has never been a delay to start of the school year caused by a court or legislature.

“We are fully planning being operational July 1st, and we are fully planning for school to start on August 12th,” Hinson said. “I will reiterate to you that in the history of our great country there has never been the delay to the start of the school year by any type of action from a court or from the legislature.”

Dozens of kids receive free lunch during the summer at Shawanoe Elementary School as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture food service program. The district is federally mandated to provide these meals during the summer, and one of the questions administrators have is whether they can continue to provide federal services if a state court orders a shutdown.

Hinson says it’s important to remember that the fight over money for public schools represents only about one percent of the total state education budget. And he calls it sad that even school districts across the state cannot agree on how best to distribute the money.

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