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Advocacy Group: Kansas Budget Plan Hurts State's Poorest Children

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

An advocacy group is saying that Gov. Sam Brownback’s latest plan to avert a budget deficit will hurt some of the state’s poorest children. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has more on concerns being raised by children’s advocates.

The nonprofit group Kansas Action for Children says that Brownback’s plan to close a projected budget gap will force reductions in grant programs that serve at-risk children and families. At issue is a plan to sweep $9 million from a fund specifically earmarked for children’s programs.

State Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says diverting the money won’t affect grant amounts.

“This will not have any reduction in grant funding to providers or recipients," Sullivan says.

But Kansas Action for Children President Shannon Cotsoradis says that isn’t true.

“The $9 million sweep will mean that grantees across the state in fiscal year 2016 get 6.5 percent less than what they were promised," Cotsoradis says. "So, I think the reality is communities will feel the impact of that sweep.”

Cotsoradis says the grants being cut fund early education programs that serve some of the state’s neediest children.