It appears Kansas public schools are going to avoid deep cuts, thanks to the federal stimulus package.
“In light of the current fiscal situation, I think school superintendents will be appreciative that they don’t have to make major cuts,” said Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis.
On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee approved Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ budget amendment on school funding, which takes into consideration dollars coming from Washington, D.C., through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A Senate subcommittee has taken similar action.
If this proposal gains full House and Senate majorities and Sebelius’ signature, then school funding will essentially stay flat for the next two school years.
Base state aid was $4,433 per student at the start of the school year, then cut back to $4,400 in a bill to deal with a budget deficit brought on by the recession.
But staying at the $4,400 base state aid per student level is better than having to make major cuts, said Lawrence Supt. Randy Weseman.
“This is certainly the lesser of all evils,” Weseman said.
Before the federal stimulus package was approved last month, state lawmakers were talking about 10 percent cuts to schools.
The $787 billion stimulus measure was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. Some of the stimulus will go toward helping public schools, and Kansas’ share could reach nearly $600 million over two years.