Sound Off: School money
Over a year ago the Kansas State Board of Education found that the Lawrence school district had retained far too much money in the district’s contingency fund. What was the exact dollar amount of that overage? The state mandated that those funds be spent. Has this money been spent? If so, how exactly was the money spent?
The amount of money a district is allowed to hold in a contingency reserve fund is set by statute. The Kansas State Board of Education has no role in regulating that amount. According to information provided by the Lawrence school district, the cap has been set at 10 percent of the district’s general fund expenditures since Fiscal Year 2009. That law had a sunset provision, meaning if the law had not been renewed, the cap would have reverted to 6 percent of expenditures. In 2011, the Kansas Legislature allowed the sunset to expire, meaning the Lawrence school district would have had to spend down about $3 million from its contingency reserve fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. However, midway through the fiscal year, the 2012 Legislature reversed that decision and passed a bill permanently setting the cap at 10 percent. For the current fiscal year, the district has budgeted to end the year with $6.6 million in its contingency reserve fund, which is 9.966 percent of its budgeted general fund expenditures for the year.