Committee considers efficiency recommendations for school districts

Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis on Thursday told legislators that some of the recommendations made in an efficiency study were not good ideas.

The $2.6 million study by Alvarez & Marsal recommended the state reduce funding to school districts that carried excessive cash balances.

But Dennis told the Legislative Budget Committee that school districts shouldn’t be punished for being frugal. He said districts with the largest cash balances are working to reduce those balances.

The A&M report also called on the state to consider a health insurance plan for all school districts.

Dennis said that proposal is under study but that bringing all districts into one plan “is not simple.” Plus, he said much of savings cited by A&M in consolidating health plans was a shift of the cost from employer to employee.

Another recommendation was that school districts join the Kansas Department of Administration to strategically purchase items. Dennis said while this also is being studied, school districts already use cooperatives to get the best deal on purchases.

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, said she thought it was best for local school boards to make procurement decisions.

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