We hear some legislators and the governor stick to their talking point that overall funding for education is up and any complaints about education cuts are lies or misunderstandings. The problem is that school funding is divided into different categories, and funding in one area usually can’t be used in other areas.
The major source of state funding that pays for the salaries, the supplies and the daily operating expenses of our school districts is the school funding formula with its Base State Aid Per Pupil and various weightings. Between 2009 and 2012, that piece of the pie was cut by over $511 million. And that figure is an annual figure, so between 2009 and 2012 the school districts in Kansas lost $511 million to spend on salaries, supplies and other daily operating expenses each year, and operating budgets were cut. Those cuts are not figments of our imagination. They are real, and they affect our schools and our children.
Here are three documents that show what those cuts mean in the Shawnee Mission School District. (over $10 million in annual cuts for 2009-10); (over $10 million in annual cuts and additional fees for families in 2010-2011); (over $8 million in annual cuts and additional fees for families). That’s just the example for SMSD.
Other districts have faced cuts as well. There was a small restoration of funding in 2012-13, and the BSAPP is scheduled to increase by $15 per pupil next year, but those amounts do not make up for the cuts faced over the last several years. That’s why informed parents are concerned. We’ve seen the cuts, and we know they are real even if KPERS funding and capital outlay funding are up.