Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Community Meetings on Budget

April 21, 2015

Dear Families, Patrons and Staff of Topeka Public Schools,

Our state is experiencing revenue problems which are creating budget challenges for public education and other governmental entities across Kansas.  We have already taken a $1,619,679 cut for the 2014-2015 school year with only a fourth of the fiscal year still remaining.  Next year, we will lose an additional $1,310,867 and the following year our loss will be $664,879. The total loss for the three years is $3,595,425. The latest revenue estimates that came out yesterday indicate an additional $200 million shortfall in revenue which could translate to even more funding cuts this spring and next year.
The Topeka Public Schools Board of Education has decided to hold three community meetings next week to share information and get input on budget priorities.  These will take place:

                             Monday, April 27 at 6:00 p.m. in the Topeka High School cafeteria
                             Tuesday, April 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Topeka West High School choir room
                            Wednesday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m. in the Highland Park High School cafeteria

The purpose of the meetings is to share information on the Kansas budget situation, Topeka Public Schools allotment with block grants, an opportunity to rank budget priorities (What does our community want to preserve in our school district?), and meet with board members to share your suggestions.
The Kansas Association of School Boards has prepared spread sheets on the impact of the block grant funding law on all Kansas school districts.  Click on the link below and in the upper right corner you will see a drop down menu.  Click on the menu and scroll down until you find USD 501 Topeka Public Schools.  There you can see the funding amounts for USD 501 the previous two years, current year and the next two years.  You will see that any significant increase in funding is for KPERS pension contributions and not for school operating expenses.
Please direct your attention to the line labeled State Operating Aid plus the Local Operating Revenue raised.  Again, this is a time to find out about our state’s revenue challenges and how they will impact Topeka Public Schools and to give your input.
Sincerely,

Dr. Julie Ford
Superintendent