PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • School funding falls short of needs

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  • The number is very sobering. If schools received the full amount of money that Kansas Legislature reports indicate they should receive, Skyline would be getting an additional $350,000 in state funding.
    The Skyline Board of Education learned the numbers during their January meeting.
    In 2009-2010, the total enrollment at Skyline was 353. The 2013-2014 student count is 431, a difference of 78 students
    Currently, the BSAPP in Kansas is $3,838. Those 78 students generate $299,364 for the district at that rate, said Mike Sanders, Skyline superintendent.
    If Skyline got the $4,492 like it was supposed to receive, it would take 368 students to generate the same amount of money that 431 students generate at $3,838.
    The increase in student population has kept Skyline going and helped make up the difference in the actual BSAPP and the one it should be getting.
    The increase in student population has also created a unique problem for Skyline. So many kindergarten parents want their children to attend Skyline that they now have to be put on a waiting list because the current classrooms are full, Sanders said.
    This increase in students over the past five years has been a challenge to the district but one that has aided the county. To meet the growing number of students in the classroom, the district has hired more teacher's aids and that has caused the district to use more of its funding to pay for the additional staff.
    While the population is growing, the classroom size has stayed the same and that has proved to be a challenge, too.
    The Kansas Supreme Court is close to making a decision on the funding issue and Skyline and the rest of the schools in Kansas are keeping a close eye on their decision and then what action the Kansas Legislature will take if the ruling is in favor of funding education to the level their own reports say they should spend, Sanders said.
    Schools are not the only ones keeping their eyes on Topeka. An advocacy group "Game On For Kansas Schools" is working hard to learn all it can about what Kansas schools need and what citizens need to do make positive things happen for education.
    This non-partisan group is made up of parents, teachers, school board representatives and other community members dedicated to sharing public education information and public education funding advocacy in Kansas.
    The group will make an appearance in Pratt at noon on Feb. 27 at Rotary. At 3:30 p.m. they will be Liberty Middle School to meet with Boards of Education and business leaders then at 6 p.m. at LMS to meet with parents and the community to share information.
    In other action: The Kansas State Fire Marshal has issued Skyline a waiver to correct an issue that was brought to the school's attention during the last inspection. An portion of loft area between the main building and the bus garage needs to be upgraded to a higher fire resistant level. This area has existed since the building was constructed and it has never been a problem before, Sanders said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Cost to bring the wall up to code is estimated at $1,000 and the district has until Aug. 31 to get the work done under the waiver. The building also needs new outlets in some sections to reduce the use of extension cords.
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