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State Trying to Balance Budget on Backs of Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 9, 2015

Contact: David A. Smith, chief of staff, (913) 279-2242

As they struggle through the 110th day of a 90-day session, the Kansas Legislature is once again considering major cuts to education funding across the state. These cuts would have a devastating effect on the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, reducing funding for the 2015/16 school year by $10.8 million (which would be on top of the more than $2 million in cuts the district has already received.)

“We were shocked when we heard that cuts of this magnitude were being discussed,” said David A. Smith, Chief of Communications and Governmental Affairs for the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. “These proposed cuts, which come on top of reductions that came with the switch to Block Grant funding, would be devastating.”

In March, Governor Sam Brownback signed legislation that eliminated the school finance formula, and replaced it with a plan for Block Grants, which froze funding at 2014/15 fiscal year levels for the next two years.

The current cuts are being proposed as the Kansas Legislature tries to close a more than $400 million budget deficit. So far, numerous proposals to raise the sales tax in order to close the deficit have failed in the Legislature by wide margins.

“Kansas has always been a state known for its strong public schools,” Smith said. “Now, in publications across the country, Kansas is being identified as a prime example of how NOT to budget. While the rest of the country is clear that the reason for the current deficit is the irresponsible tax cuts passed in 2012, the Kansas Legislature continues to talk about balancing the state budget on the backs of its most vulnerable citizens, its children.”

While the district has no contingency plan to deal with cuts of this magnitude, Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Lane intends to discuss the issue with the Board of Education at its regularly scheduled meeting tonight, Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm at the Central Office and Training Center, 2010 N. 59th Street, Kansas City, Kansas.

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Melissa Fears • Communications Office
2010 N. 59th Street • Kansas City, KS 66104 • 913-279-2242