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How School Finance Formula Affects Staffing

May 09, 2017

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New School Finance Formula and How it Affects Staffing for Spring Hill USD 230 Schools                   

As many of you know, the Kansas Legislature is working on a new school finance formula.  The Kansas State Supreme Court recently determined that schools in Kansas need to be adequately and equitably funded.  They have given a directive to the Kansas Legislature to develop a school funding formula that meets these requirements by June 30, 2017. If the legislature cannot develop a constitutional formula, the legislature cannot fund schools, and schools will be shut down.

As the Legislature goes through this process, there will be many ideas brought to the table. Currently, there are at least five formulas that the House and/or Senate are investigating.  I’ve provided testimony three times this year to express my concern about our immediate need for a school funding formula.

Block grant funding has had a significantly negative impact on our district the last two years. Under the old formula, our 2015-2016 general fund budget would have increased by more than $500,000 to meet the needs of a student population that grew 143 students (5.6%).  We also would have increased our supplemental general fund budget by nearly $500,000, instead found it capped with block grant funding.  We were grateful to receive $317,164 in extraordinary need funds to offset the cost of additional teachers and paraprofessionals that were hired. Instead of losing nearly $1,000,000 in additional budget authority, we were down approximately $700,000.

Our 2016-2017 general fund budget would have increased yet another $500,000 under the old formula to meet the needs of a student population that grew by 132 students (5%).  When we went before the extraordinary needs committee in August 2016, we requested an amount of $941,440 to help fund the additional 10.5 teachers and 9 paraprofessionals that were added to service an anticipated increase of 190 students.  The KSDE Extraordinary Needs committee approved us for $848,580.  Kansas schools contributed .4% ($11 million) of their general fund budget to the Extraordinary Needs fund.  However, the 2016-2017 Extraordinary Needs funds were not used for the Extraordinary Needs Committee. The funding was contingent upon a successful sale of the Kansas BioScience Authority of over $25 million. The sale failed to generate the needed funds.  This left a significant gap between the monies our students deserve to receive for their educational needs, and the funding that was provided the district.  We have two-years of growth (new students) in which we are not receiving funding.

With the current finance situation of the state of Kansas in flux, I’ve given the directive to not add any additional certified staff until we receive more information about funding we can expect to receive for next school year. We are replacing teachers who are leaving, added special education teachers to cover state and federally mandated minutes, and added all day Kindergarten teachers, but we have a hold on additional hiring.  Across the district, I currently have requests for ten additional certified staff members and I would love to give the go-ahead to hire these people. However, it is not financially prudent or feasible until we know we have the funding from the state to pay for these staff members. As many of you know, we recently passed a bond issue for new buildings and other items needed by our district, but we are not allowed to use this money for teacher salaries. 

Our local legislators have been helpful and have commented that they appreciate hearing from their constituents about concerns.  Please feel free to contact our local legislators and ask them for help in solving our school funding issues. 

Senator Molly Baumgardner,, 785-296-7368
Representative Jene Vickrey,, 785-296-7748
Representative Larry Campbell,, 785-296-7654
Governor Brownback, 877-579-6757
Wayne Burke


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