KCUR News
9:40 am
Wed December 9, 2009

Kansas School Districts Have Trouble Paying Bill

Topeka, KS – A cash crunch forced Kansas to delay $173 million in aid payments to its public schools this month, and a top education official said Tuesday that a few districts need help from the state to make their December payrolls.

State Budget Director Duane Goossen confirmed that there hasn't been enough money in Kansas' main account to meet its obligations to its 295 school districts. Some funds due in December might not be sent until early January.

But Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said the state will relent for a few districts and send funds so they can pay their employees on time. Other districts, he said, may have to violate state laws governing their cash management for a few weeks.

"We don't want anybody to miss payroll," Dennis said during a meeting of the State Board of Education.

Dennis listed seven districts who needed the state to relent so they can make their payrolls: Hays in northwest Kansas; Ashland, Hugoton and Skyline in southwest Kansas, and Buhler, Haven and Wellington in south-central Kansas. He said he expects a few more will fall into the same category.

Hays Superintendent Fred Kaufman said: "You'd think you could depend on the state of Kansas to provide the funding they're obligated to provide."