Archive for Thursday, June 1, 2006

Funding plan adds little for Eudora

June 1, 2006

When it comes to school funding, Superintendent Marty Kobza is once again prepared for the Kansas Supreme Court to have the last say.

After results of a post audit were released in January holding the state accountable to provide greater funds to public schools, one plan emerged from the Legislature's extended session.

It came in the form of a three-year $466 million plan passed by both the Senate and House. Endorsed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, it would pour in an extra $256,641 per year into district coffers.

If endorsed by the State Supreme Court, the plan would translate to an extra $199 per pupil for Eudora ---- one of the lowest increases in the state, Kobza said.

Although the district could be getting the annual sum of $256,641 from the state, portions of that money would be considered categorical and could only be used for certain areas like special education.

Kobza has seen similar numbers before.

He followed plan after plan as each went through the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate. He updated the USD 491 Board of Education on the situation last month.

Kobza said he had his doubts about the most recent effort.

"I think if the Supreme Court uses the same standards that it did last time to measure the appropriate amount of funding, then it will fall short," Kobza said.

The situation is much like last year when the Legislature had to convene in an emergency summer session, Kobza said.

"I don't see this being over any time soon," Kobza said. "We're going to be talking about a potential emergency session."

If the emergency session doesn't come to pass, then at least this plan would help the district's budgeting, Kobza said.

"The encouraging part of this is that they're looking at a multi-year plan," Kobza said.

With the multi-year plan the district knows exactly how much more money it would have each year.

Although a court ruling could result in an emergency session further delaying the actual delivery of the funds, Kobza said the district would be receiving more money because of growth.

"The fact that we're growing is going to help us to pay for new staff," Kobza said.

One thing is certain ---- like last year ---- the district won't know how much money will be coming to it until the Supreme Court makes a decision.

"The point is, don't expect anything too soon," Kobza said.

The Supreme Court scheduled a June 22 hearing to evaluate the state's plan.

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