Bonner schools’ request for additional funding denied; Basehor-Linwood receives half of funding requested
Basehor-Linwood USD 458 Monday learned it will receive a little more than half of the extraordinary need funding it requested from the state, but Bonner Springs-Edwardsville USD 204 won’t receive any additional funding.
“This was’t the outcome we had hoped for,” said Dan Brungardt, superintendent of USD 204. “…It’s disappointing that not all of our legislators are able to fully support our needs, but we have a strong learning community and will work with the provided resources to make sure the kids in our classrooms do not have to feel the repercussions of the (State Finance) Council’s decision.”
The two-year block grant finance law froze the level of state operating funds available to schools at 2014-15 levels. Districts could apply for additional funding through the Extraordinary Need State Aid Program under the law.
Both Brungardt and David Howard, USD 458 Superintendent, attended the State Finance Council meeting to hear the debate about which of 40 districts making requests for $12 million available would receive funding. Both local districts had made requests based on increased enrollment.
The council, headed by Gov. Sam Brownback, voted to grant only a total of $2 million to districts for increased enrollment, which represented one-fourth of the requests. They voted to grant funds only to districts whose enrollment growth was 2 percent or more. USD 458’s enrollment grew by 90 students, or 4.3 percent; USD 204’s enrollment grew by 39 students, which was 1.55 percent.
Basehor-Linwood district requested $358,830 and was granted $192,850.
“I guess we should consider ourselves lucky,” Howard said. “Olathe, Bonner Springs, Hutchinson, Buhler, Manhattan, Valley Center and Wichita received nothing at this time.”
Kansas City USD 500, which had requested $2,021,409 due to an increase of 507 students, was granted only $407,548.
For districts that saw decreases in property valuations, the council unanimously approved $4.1 million out of $6.5 million in requests.
Brungardt said he didn’t feel the ruling was fair, since all districts helped fund the “extraordinary needs” fund through the new block grant school finance law. It was established by taking .4 percent of state general assistance from all school districts, so USD 204 had provided $52,816 — it was requesting $55,136.
USD 458’s budget was reduced by $38,800 for the extraordinary needs fund.
Districts who applied also had to prove they had made efforts to reduce costs.
“Our district has done a lot to reduce costs on our end,” Brungardt said. “We’ve implemented an effective energy management program, taken over our special education busing so it’s no longer outsourced and we’ve made an effort to streamline as many operation processes as possible.”