Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Superintendent: Reserve funds offset cash shortages

April 10, 2002

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A cash shortage in the state treasury won't delay paychecks to Lawrence school district's 1,800 employees, Supt. Randy Weseman said Tuesday.

He said the district would dip into a reserve fund to counter a state tax revenue shortfall that could delay until May a $68 million payment to Kansas public school districts that was due April 1.

"We can weather it," Weseman said. "That's why we have a contingency reserve."

He said that district's fund would guarantee that 800 classified staff and 1,000 certified educators at Lawrence schools would receive paychecks on time this month.

In December 2001, the state budget director shorted the Lawrence district $700,000 when the treasury ran low on cash. The state's revenue plight deepened in the past few months, prompting Budget Director Duane Goossen to alter payment schedules to districts.

Weseman said the state's decision to lean on school district contingency funds was ironic, given a suggestion by some legislators that reserve accounts be eliminated.

District administrators, including Weseman, objected to that idea.

The superintendent said culprits in the budget nightmare were excessive tax cuts approved by Legislature and recession in the Kansas economy.

If the state doesn't act thoughtfully, he said, the situation could bankrupt the Kansas public school system.

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