To do this, I’ve combined information from the Governor’s Budget Division, the Kansas Legislative Research Department, and the Kansas State Department of Education. Although KSDE compiles a total spending report for the state and local school districts, it only break funding into three categories: state aid, federal aid and local revenue. It doesn’t explain changes in the mix of how those revenues can be used.
Second, 2011 was the first year of the Governor Brownback’s administration. That allows a comparison between funding levels that the Governor inherited and what has changed under this watch.
Third, 2014 is the current school year, and 2015 is the upcoming year. The Legislature has already approved state aid for these two years, although the Governor has proposing adjustments the Legislature will consider. (In charts below, I refer to 2009 and 2011 as “actual” expenditures, because we know what was actually spent, and 2014 and 2015 as “approved” based on the Legislature’s approved budget. However, I also include in total the Governor’s new recommendations for both years, and estimates for other parts of the budget.)
Each item explained below has a number in parentheses that matches a funding line in the chart that follows.
Note that in FY 2011, the state used federal stimulus funds to provide $145 million in general state aid. (9) Since 2009, state general fund support of general state aid has been reduced by $273 million. This has been offset in part by an increase in the state district finance fund “recapture” from the 20 mills, and the $96 million highway fund dollars for both years. However, state funding has not replace most of the federal stimulus funding that expired. This is why the Governor notes that state funding has increased significantly since 2011, but district general fund budgets are still below were they were in 2009.
Special Education State Aid
40 percent since both 2009 and 2011 (29).
Trends in School Funding: State and Local Balance
57.7 percent to 55.6 percent of total school spending (42), while federal aid has risen just slightly (43) and local revenues increased from 35.0 percent to 36.9 percent (44). It’s worth noting that Kansas has long ranked high among states in terms of the percentage of budget from state funding. This was done to reduce reliance on property tax, and to equalize differences in tax rates resulting from differences in local property valuation. Kansas seems to becoming more like the rest of the country, with more reliance on local revenues for school funding – at a cost of higher local property taxes, especially in lower-wealth school districts.
School Funding and Kansas Personal Income