Clause in current version of K-12 funding bill would sap $1.8 million from Shawnee Mission budget next year

Jay Senter - April 17, 2018 11:34 am
KSDE’s calculations of the effect of a provision in the current K-12 funding bill show that Shawnee Mission would lose more than $2 million next year.

If unaltered by the legislature when it returns for the veto session next week, the K-12 funding bill Gov. Jeff Colyer is signing this morning would lead to a year-over-year loss of $2,056,320 for Shawnee Mission schools according to financial runs prepared by the Kansas State Department of Education last week.

In addition to the previously reported loss of $231,386 that resulted from a drafting error that took away $80 million of funding intended for K-12 schools next year, Shawnee Mission would see the loss of $1,824,934 it currently raises through local taxes.

Gov. Jeff Colyer, seen here on a tour of the Center for Academic Achievement, would have to sign a trailer bill amending the current K-12 funding legislation text when the veto session convenes next week.

At issue is the repeal of a grandfather clause, KS Stat § 72-5144, embedded in this year’s finance bill that allowed districts to calculate how much money they could raise locally for special education funding. The clause lets districts calculate their local option budget limit based on state aid for special education and related services from the 2008-2009 school year. Since Shawnee Mission’s state aid for such services is lower today than it was in 2008-2009, the repeal of the grandfather clause would mean that Shawnee Mission could no longer use that $1.8 million in local option budget money for classroom expenses.

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Viewed in the context of the funding Shawnee Mission could expect to receive based on KSDE’s financial runs for the bill “as intended” — which showed Shawnee Mission gaining $4,295,626 next year — the bill as it currently stands represents a negative swing of $6,351,946 in funds available to Shawnee Mission next year.

Rep. Melissa Rooker is among the legislators who were upset upon the discovery that the repeal of the 72-5144 had been included in the bill, saying that legislative leaders did not disclose the repeal had been added into the text of the bill before it came up for a vote.

Now, Shawnee Mission area lawmakers have to hope that legislative leaders will be willing to eliminate the repeal of 72-5144 from the bill when they reconvene for the veto session next week and take up the fix of the $80 million drafting error.

No other district in the state would face a negative impact from the repeal of 72-5144 close to as severe as that forecast for Shawnee Mission. While 88 of the state’s 286 school districts would see the loss of expected funds available to them with the 72-5144 repeal, in raw dollars, the effects on Shawnee Mission would be more than ten times as severe as the next closest district. The Hays School District in Ellis County stands to lose access to $149,303 if the repeal of 72-5144 stands. Colby Public Schools in Thomas County would lose $120,871. No other district would see losses in the six figures or greater.

Johnson County districts Blue Valley, Spring Hill, Gardner Edgerton, De Soto and Olathe would see no impact on their access to local option budget funds under the repeal.

The financial run prepared by the Kansas State Department of Education April 11 — three days after the legislature approved the bill — showing the effects of the repeal of 72-5144 on local option budget funds available next year is embedded below.

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