Cuts in education may get deeper, a state senator says

State Sen. John Vratil of Leawood, a leading Republican, writes an occassional column on Kansas affairs titled Capital Coments. The current issue arrived via the Internet Monday. It deals with public education statewide.
He wrote:
“In late July, Dale Dennis, Kansas Department of Education Deputy Commissioner, provided members of the Legislative Education Planning Committee with an up-date on the impact of re-duced funding for Kan-sas school districts for the current school year.
“I thought my readers would be interested in knowing the impact the cuts had on school districts and their students, your children and grandchildren.
“Mr. Dennis told the committee that 2,101 licensed positions were eliminated across Kan-sas.
“The licensed positions included 133 administrators, 1,160 teachers, 583 coaches and 225 other positions, for a spending reduction of $73,172,714. The 2,101 positions represent 5 percent of the total number of licensed positions originally planned statewide.
“One thousand six hundred and three non-licensed positions were eliminated, including 111 food service personnel, 70 bus drivers, 278 custodial/maintenance workers, 566 paraprofessionals, 234 Rule 10 coaches and 344 other positions, for a reduction in spending of $26,348,456.
“This reduction represents 4 percent of the total non-licensed positions originally planned statewide.
“Kansas received approximately $195 million in federal stimulus funds to help fund education during the current school year. $138.7 million replaced state general fund money and $55.7 million was designated for special education. Additional funds and/or tax credits were made available for specific construction bonds, school lunch equipment, Title I grants, technology, education for the homeless, etc.
“The State of Kansas appreciates the role federal stimulus funds play-ed in enabling Kansas school districts to continue to provide a first-class education to Kansas students.
“Many legislators, including myself, are concerned about what will happen when the federal stimulus funding goes away next year. The economy continues to be soft. Retail sales were flat even during the back-to-school purchase period. We normally expect to see an increase in sales at that time. Individual and corporate income tax receipts continue to be well below projections. I’m afraid the next two years will be difficult years for our state budget.”