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USD 308 criticizes school finance bill

By Mary Clarkin

The Hutchinson News

The school finance bill that passed the Kansas Legislature this month and was sent to the governor for signing will result in a loss to Hutchinson USD 308's general fund, according to Superintendent Shelly Kiblinger and Lori Blakesley, director of fiscal management and business operations.

While the district could gain $360,000 for the capital outlay fund -- "a really nice addition of revenue to this fund," Blakesley said -- it loses $102,000 in general operating dollars because the proposed hike in the base state aid per pupil would be overshadowed by losses in at-risk allocations.

Kiblinger told the school board Monday night that USD 308 was the second-biggest loser across the state in general fund operations, under the approved bill.

Also, Blakesley said, the Kansas Department of Education's Dale Dennis has warned school districts the state will begin experiencing its own cash flow problems around 2016-17.

In previous years when the state had money problems, Blakesley noted, the state delayed sending payments to school districts or cut school aid during the fiscal year.

Blakesley said school districts will have to watch their cash balances and ensure they have sufficient funds in coming years.

(c)2014 The Hutchinson News