Kansas budget falls short again; $75 million payment to schools delayed

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas budget took another hit in the month of June, once again falling short of revenue projections. One of the side effects of the shortfall will impact schools in the state.

Kansas is withholding its June payment to schools of $75 million by a week in order to keep the budget in the black

The state missed its June 2016 revenue projections by more than $34.5 million. Overall in June, the state expected to bring in more than $609.9 million in tax revenue. Instead, it reported tax revenue of $575.4 million.

For fiscal year 2016, the state expected to collect more than $5.6 billion. Total revenues for the fiscal year amounted to about $5.5 billion, or more than $107.3 million less than revenue projections.

While the state has withheld payments to Kansas schools in the past due to cash flow issues, the June payment withholding amount is greater than originally predicted.

“It’s unusual that we increased the amount at the end of the year,” said Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis.

Dennis says the extra amount will help replenish the deficit that was created in June.

“That was the number chosen by the budget division in order to accommodate the general fund cash flow.”

The $75 million amount reflects a budget deficit of $45 million combined with the state’s falling short of June revenue predictions by more than $30 million. In addition, a total of $23.6 million will come from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Corrections and unspent money from the Kansas State Department of Education.

The June payments will be made on July 7, but the school districts will record the payments as having been made in June.

Many school district in the state are getting frustrated with coming up with creative ways to find funding. USD 259 is having to again dip into its reserve fund in order to keep building running for the week.

“Do what we need to do or do what we can do through the reserves,” said school board President Betty Arnold. “Is it going to create a problem? Yeah. But we’ve had problems, I think that’s common place anymore.”

Meanwhile, State Senator Michael O’Donnell agrees funding issues like delayed payments need to be solved.

“We have services that need funding, and I’m just not sure if the governor or the people around the governor are really focusing on that,” said O’Donnell.

The state first started delaying school payments more than a decade ago.

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