Archive for Thursday, May 13, 2004

Class not yet dismissed

Despite judge’s ruling, school in session — for now

May 13, 2004

The Eudora USD 491 district office had to field several calls Tuesday from patrons wondering if school was still in session. Since the Kansas Legislature ended its session without a school funding plan and, subsequently, Shawnee County District Judge Terry Bullock ruled Tuesday the state's funding of schools unconstitutional, speculations about what will happen to the state's schools have abounded.
Eudora's superintendent, Marty Kobza, said some patrons wanted to know if school was shutting down as soon as 2 p.m. Tuesday. Although that wasn't the case, Kobza said Wednesday morning the district was considering the possibility Eudora's schools would shut down at the end of June. If the judge's decision holds, as of June 30 schools wouldn't be allowed to pay utilities, salaries, or other costs.
"As of June 30, we cannot spend a dime on anything," he said. "We'd shut down, close our doors, and no one would come in."
Schools across the state wait in limbo while the possibility remains the Kansas Supreme Court will stay Bullock's decison until it rules on an appeal in October. Also, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius left open the possiblity she would call a special session of the out approving extra funding for education.
"It's going to be really interesting to see how this all shakes out," Kobza said. "For the sake of the students, we want to have school. Hopefully, the Legislature will take responsibility."
As the district begins its budgetary process as it does customarily this time of year, Kobza said district leaders would shape a budget under the assumption Eudora's schools wouldn't get a funding increase from last year.
However, Kobza said contention over education funding could benefit Eudora.
"With the judge's decision, it would be a benefit to Eudora because we are not a wealthy district," he said. "His biggest problem seemed to be...your wealthy districts had the opportunity to spend a lot of money. Obviously we're not a wealthy district."

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