Responding to state cuts in education funding, many districts across Kansas continue to cut staff in order to balance budgets. State funding of public schools has been reduced by about $300 million, and is currently at the same level it was in 2006.
Olathe (USD 233) faces a $12 million shortfall in next year’s budget, and has identified almost $11 million in cuts. Cuts include 62 teaching positions, 12 coaches, and five nurses. More than 150 positions will be eliminated, however district officials hope most can be cut through attrition. 128 staff members have alread said they plan to retire or resign after the current year.
Prior to this round of cuts, Olathe had eliminated 81 teaching jobs and 25 additional positions; having lost nearly $14 million in state funding. But the district is teaching more students next year with less money and fewer teachers. Enrollment projections show about 500 additional students next year.
Bonner Springs (USD 204) officials anticipate cutting about 10 more jobs, including teachers and administrators, in order to reach an additional $800,000 in cuts. Like Olathe, Bonner Springs expects an increase in total student enrollment next year; about 85 more students.
Superintendent Robert Van Maren said the district will wait for the next state revenue estimate, to be released April 15, before making any final decisions.
Topeka (USD 501) is bracing for a possible $2.7 million reduction in funding that could come as part of the House Republican budget proposal. District administrators are planning a 31 school, month long “listening tour” to discuss needs and planning with staff and community members.