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USD 457: Schools for Fair Funding

Published 12/16/2009 in Podcasts

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Podcast: USD 457 Board of Education President Mike Utz and board member Gloria Hopkins discuss USD 457's recent decision to join Schools for Fair Funding in this edition of Talk of the Town.

In this extended edition of Talk of the Town, USD 457 Board of Education president Mike Utz and board member Gloria Hopkins discuss the recent decision to join Schools for Fair Funding, which is considering the idea of suing the state for funding promised to schools.

Currently, the district receives $4,012 per student from the state, down $421 from earlier projections. USD 457 was in line to receive a $58 per student increase in funding from the state, in what was the third year of a three year plan to properly fund schools following Montoy vs. the State of Kansas in 2006, according to USD457 Superintendent Rick Atha. Statewide, there have been $241 million in cuts to education.

In June 2009, the BOE voted to freeze the salaries of district principals and the top six administrators. Atha's salary was frozen at $149,095.

On Dec. 7, the USD 457 Board of Education voted 4-3 to join Schools for Fair Funding, joining 67 other districts in ongoing talks with the state legislature to solve the funding issue. Hopkins hopes that, by presenting a united voice, the districts will be able to more capably negotiate with the state legislature and prevent the need to sue the state.

If the lawsuit proceeds, it will cost the $5 per student, or roughly $35,000 for USD 457, Hopkins said.

"It's certainly not my goal to want to sue the state," said Atha. "But we've got to fight for our kids."

You can continue the discussion on Schools for Fair Funding on SWKTalk.com.
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