KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Cash-strapped school districts will appeal to Kansas lawmakers Monday morning for more state funding. Local superintendents who’ve recently cut millions of dollars from their budgets say they desperately need the money.
KCK is one of a handful of local school districts asking for money from the state’s extraordinary need fund.
State funding for schools is frozen right now while lawmakers re-work the funding formula, but districts adding new students such as KCK can appeal for more money. The problem is they’re asking for more money than what is available.
A total of 45 school superintendents have applied for funding, and local districts include KCK, Olathe, Spring Hill, Piper, Bonner Springs and Basehor-Linwood.
There is $12.3 million dollars available but total requests equal to about $15 million dollars.
KCK is asking for a little more than $2 million, which is the largest request from any of the districts. They say they expect to add more than 500 new students to their rosters this year, and they want to use the money to hire around two dozen new teachers.
Over the past five years, the district has had to make $50 million in budge cuts. KCK school officials say they are committed to keeping class sizes down and plan to hire new teachers whether they receive the money or not.
“We’re going to be spending the money that we need to educate the kids we expect to see, we have to, they’re our kids, we’re serving them, we’ve committed and the board is committed to not raising the student-teacher ratio,” said David Smith with KCK Public Schools.
Smith says if the district don’t get the funding, they’ll cut from other areas to hire more teachers.
The district plans to make their appeal at 10 a.m. in Topeka.
“We don’t have a choice,” Smith said. “We will find the money somewhere. We will cut somewhere else to make sure we can give the kids what they need, that’s what we do.”