- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration recommends not granting emergency state aid to most of the Kansas school districts that plan on seeking funds at an upcoming meeting with lawmakers, though it isn’t clear whether that will be followed.

The Kansas State Department of Education sent an email to superintendents on behalf of the Division of Budget that said giving certain districts extra aid would not benefit them until next year because school budgets for this fiscal year have already been set, the Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1PfhXGm ) reported.

The message suggested the 17 of 23 districts that applied for aid wait until next year, and said attending the State Finance Council meeting on Monday is not necessary.

The message was meant as a courtesy to the superintendents, since many district representatives would be from western Kansas, the governor’s office said Thursday.

But it won’t keep Mike Ward, superintendent of Lakin USD 215, from making the six-hour trip to Topeka to present his case to the State Finance Council.

“It’s my belief, it’s our belief, that they’re banking on us not showing up,” Ward said.

It’s unknown whether the council will follow Budget Director Shawn Sullivan’s recommendation, education department spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said. She added that other districts who are applying for additional funding are encouraged to attend Monday’s meeting.

The state education department says the 17 districts are seeking the emergency funds because low oil and gas prices led to a drop in property valuations in their regions. If the districts receive the money, it will be earmarked for next year and the funds will displace local property tax revenue, potentially leading to lower tax bills for property owners.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com


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