Hinson says Shawnee Mission bracing for the possibility of millions in cuts before June 30

Superintendent Jim Hinson said Monday that the district was bracing for the possibility of significant cuts.
Superintendent Jim Hinson said Monday that the district was bracing for the possibility of significant cuts.

Kansas lawmakers’ exploration of a variety of options for closing the state’s nearly $350 million budget hole for the current fiscal year has local school district administrators bracing for significant cuts.

A plan circulated in the capitol yesterday looked at across-the-board cuts to state agencies. Superintendent Jim Hinson told the Board of Education Monday evening that the district’s calculations suggested the cuts proposed would result in a $9 to $11 million reduction in expected funds between now and the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

“We heard several different percentages of what that would look like today,” Hinson said. “Where it ends, we don’t have any idea, obviously. But there is considerable conversation about the potential reduction for school funding between now and June 30.”

Such warnings have become common in recent years as the legislature has struggled to make ends meet. Hinson issued a similar pronouncement in February 2015 shortly after Gov. Sam Brownback announced a 1.5 percent cut to K-12 funding for that fiscal year. Last February, he suggested that a reduction in expected funds may lead to larger class sizes.

Hinson said Monday that he expects legislators to find alternatives to the full across-the-board cuts they floated for this fiscal year.

“We trust that’s not going to occur,” he said. “But the possibility of withholdings, rescissions, cuts — whatever terminology you want to use — is very real.”