Kansas schools safe from budget cuts amid COVID-related costs

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A new study done by the Association of School Business Officials International and the School Superintendents Association, estimates that it will cost schools approximately $490 per student to reopen schools according to the CDC recommendations.

While Kansas school districts will follow their own guidelines, there is a concern about increased cost to reopen safely during the pandemic.

Dale Dennis, Deputy Commissioner for the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), says Kansas schools should be in financially good shape to run safely in the fall. This is due in large part, Dennis said, because Governor Kelly has not cut money from school budgets.

“The governor was very understanding, very helpful to the schools,” explained Dennis. “She did was she said she was going to do.”

There was concern earlier this year after it was announced that Kansas would be facing a $653 million budget shortfall due to lack of revenue coming in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Kelly, nicknamed the ‘Education Governor’ by many, said she wouldn’t rule out cutting from school funding if it was necessary. In Kansas, school funding makes up more than half of the state’s budget.

Federal funding from the CARES Act will also help schools reopen. Kansas schools received approximately $84 million in funding; that money must be used for coronavirus-related expenses to reopen and run schools safely.

“They’re worried and nervous, but they’ve been preparing all summer,” said Dennis of the Kansas school district staff.

The Kansas Board of Education will be releasing recommendations for school districts within the month, but districts are able to create their own guidelines for reopening.

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