KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

Are school district ending balances too high?

Each July, Kansas school boards receive reports from their superintendents on the unencumbered cash balance of specific funds as of July 1. As districts struggle with tough choices as budgets get adopted over the next month, questions are expected to be raised about whether cash balances are too high. The facts are: school districts have actually been cutting cash balances compared to budgets, school balances are actually lower than comparable state balances, and districts continue to face uncertainty in state revenues. Districts have cash balances for three major reasons. The first is to have money on hand to pay expenses that come due before the income to pay for those...

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Why are school districts cutting budgets when total funding is up?

As school boards across Kansas adopt budgets for the upcoming year, the media is reporting two different situations. School administrators in some districts have laid off staff and are cutting programs for students while nearly all districts are making tough choices. But others, such as Gov. Sam Brownback and legislative leaders, are saying that school funding is at an all-time high, and the new block grant system, they say, was designed to protect districts from cuts and provide stability. Many parents, patrons and even school board members are likely confused by these different perspectives. The facts are really fairly simple. Although total...

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KASB releases 2015 school board election data

(My colleague KASB Researcher Ted Carter crunched the numbers for this report and contributed to this blog. You can follow his work at the KASB Research Blog, and follow him on twitter: @retrac_ted. Also thanks to KASB advocacy and research assistant Debbie Dyche.) Nearly 500 new school board members took office on July 1 after being elected in April. Another 664 board members were reelected. This is the last year school board members will be elected in the Spring.  The Kansas Legislature moved local elections from April of odd-numbered years to November of odd-numbered years, beginning in 2017. KASB has...

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New School Finance Ruling Explained

A three-judge panel has found parts of the new block grant funding law for public schools unconstitutional because it short-changes some students and taxpayers without any educational basis. The court found that legislation passed this year reduces funding for many districts while leaving others untouched and essentially freezes funding for all districts without taking into account changes in student enrollment, demographics or costs. On an appeal from the state, the Kansas Supreme Court has paused action on the three-judge panel’s ruling and has said it would request written and oral arguments soon. The latest decision comes one year after the Kansas...

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