Archive for Monday, January 17, 2011

Brownback’s budget won’t force immediate cuts for Basehor-Linwood district

Proposed reductions still disappointing, Howard says

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback shakes hands with onlookers as he leaves the House chambers after his State Of State address, on Wednesday January 12, 2011.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback shakes hands with onlookers as he leaves the House chambers after his State Of State address, on Wednesday January 12, 2011.

January 17, 2011

David Howard, Basehor-Linwood School District

David Howard, Basehor-Linwood School District

Basehor-Linwood school officials had planned for major state budget cuts for this and next year, superintendent David Howard said, but that makes the aid reductions in Gov. Sam Brownback's proposed budget no less staggering.

Take your pick of the figures comparing the proposed 2011-2012 base state aid for the school district with the amount of aid two years ago — they all look grim, Howard said. The difference amounts to a reduction of more than $650 per pupil, a cut of $1.8 million total, a decline of nearly 15 percent or the equivalent of a trip back in time to 1999-2000 funding levels.

“Even though we knew it was coming, it's just a little disheartening,” Howard said Friday.

The proposed funding cuts in Brownback's budget would lead to a reduction of about $207,000 in base state aid for the district during the current 2010-2011 school year, plus a further cut of about $433,000 for the 2011-2012 school year, according to estimated figures from the Kansas Department of Education.

Because the Basehor-Linwood district planned for future funding reductions while making cuts during the last two years, Howard said, officials plan not to lay off any more staff or cut any student programs because of the proposed budget. Some small growth in student enrollment has also helped.

But if funding does not pick back up for future school years, the state cuts will result in changes in the classroom, he said.

“If it continues, make no mistake: It will affect student achievement,” Howard said.

He said he hoped the economy would turn around and allow the state to restore some of the lost funding, though, which would allow the district to get through the downturn with no further cuts.

Brownback's proposed budget, released late last week, would reduce per-pupil base state aid to $3,937 for the current school year, a reduction of $75. It would further cut the aid by $157 to $3,780 for 2011-2012. The proposed cuts would help the state overcome a projected $550 million revenue shortfall, resulting largely from expiring federal stimulus funds.

For more on this story, check Thursday's print edition of the Sentinel.

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