Kansas Faces Fiscal Challenges
As you are all aware, funding K-12 education makes up over 50% of the state’s general fund budget every year. It is understood that there are many other priorities for the state to consider. What may not be as clear or communicated is the amount this coming legislation that starts in January needs to come up with in order to balance their fiscal year budget by June 30th. It is required by the state constitution to have a balanced budget at the close of the year. The state is on a projected shortfall of around $350 million, if revenue continues on the path of the last several months. This included a payment to KPERS (retirement fund for educators and others including legislators) that was delayed from last year’s budget. The State Supreme Court has yet to decide on the adequacy piece of a long-standing court case which if found in favor of the plaintiffs will result in a substantial increase in public school funding as well. This decision is expected to be given in January as well. This would add to the roughly $350 million already expected. The key question is, where does this money come from and is it sustainable or just a one time shot? No one can expect miracles in a 5 ½ month session to solve all of the issues, but starting on the path toward solutions would be a starting point.
There are some very tough decisions that legislators face for the 2017 session. It is important for patrons such as you to be active in communicating with our state representation. Other big topics besides balancing the budget are developing a new funding formula for schools and of course taxes to name a few. These legislators need all of the input they can get from their constituents to determine the best course of action for their districts. Please thank them before, during, and after the many hours that are put in on our behalf.
Your education partner,
Superintendent of Schools
USD #310 Fairfield