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Education

Kansas Schools Asking Lawmakers For Additional State Funding

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Dozens of Kansas school districts will be asking lawmakers for extra state funding next week because they have more students or falling property values.

Monday is the deadline to apply, and the total number of schools asking for funding could be around 40.

Kansas moved to a block grant system this school year, and it doesn’t automatically add additional funding when student enrollment grows.

“It’s going to take additional desks, materials and supplies, additional teachers, probably at least some additional transportation resources. It’s a lot. It’s a lot of kids,” says David Smith, a spokesperson for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, which has grown by 500 students since last year.

“We are going to hire the additional teachers to keep our student-teacher ratio the same, we’re going to provide transportation, we’re going to provide lunch. We are going to do everything that we do for every child."

The KCK school district will be asking for just over $2 million to cover those costs. Wichita Public Schools is also among those requesting funding from the state to cover an expected 300 additional students this year.

A panel of lawmakers will consider the requests next week, but the extra state funding is capped at around $12 million. That will mean some schools will likely get less than they’re requesting.

From the AP:

Thirty-eight Kansas school districts are seeking a total of $14.8 million in additional aid from the state to address local budget issues.

The requests submitted to the state Department of Education by Monday's deadline outstrip the available funds by nearly 21 percent. Those applying for extra dollars represent more than 13 percent of the state's 286 districts.

The state has $12.3 million in extra funds available.

Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders plan to meet next Monday to consider the requests.

A majority of districts are asking the state to make up for unexpected drops in property tax revenues. Others have enrollment increases.

The Wichita district is seeking $980,000 to hire teachers, counselors and classroom assistants to deal with an unexpected influx of refugee children from Burma, Congo and Somalia.