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Wichita Students Offer Input On Proposed Budget Cuts

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Deborah Shaar
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KMUW/File photo

A group of high school students from the Wichita School District gathered today to offer feedback on the Board of Education’s suggested budget cuts.

Wichita Public Schools is considering 55 different cuts it could make in order to balance the budget and close an expected $16 million to $30 million shortfall.

Wichita Public Schools Superintendent John Allison says this is not the dialogue he would like to be having at this point in the year.

“I think it does take away from our focus on what we should be talking about, which is student education and all the things we need to do and how our students are being successful," he says. "But sadly this is just where we are and what we have to do.”

Students from every high school in the district--about 100 in all--broke into small groups to discuss the potential consequences they’d face with each cut.

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Credit Deborah Shaar / KMUW
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KMUW
Jadyn Fraley, center, participates in a discussion with other Wichita high school students on suggested district budget cuts Wednesday.

Jadyn Fraley, a student at East High, says it’s okay if the district decides to reduce the use of substitute teachers.

"I think we should reduce substitute teacher usage because when there’s a sub there, it is hard to continue through our chapter or unit or whatever we are working on if we can’t be doing exactly how the teacher would do it," she said.

Allison says he wanted the session because budget decisions directly affect students.

"It’s always good to get their input," he says. "They are a key stakeholder and their opinions and suggestions have in the past weighed very heavily with the Board as they made those decisions."

The district is facing an increase in transportation and health insurance costs for the next fiscal year and the state is not increasing its funding.

Allison says the Board of Education will have to make incredibly difficult decisions.

”None of which will be positive for our students, our community, or our parents but that’s where we are because of the state’s financial situation and the lack of funding for schools.”

You can see the full list of suggested budget cuts here: 

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Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.