TOPEKA Testifying at the state school finance trial, Wichita school Superintendent John Allison said today that the district is not being provided enough money to meet state requirements and community expectations.
We do not (have adequate resources), not for all of our students, Allison said. What you see is some students having success Were not able to provide that success for all our students.
A number of school districts, Wichita included, have sued the state arguing that the Legislature has failed to provide adequate support for education following budget reductions passed during the recession.
The Legislature slightly increased funding this year, but the plaintiff schools are arguing that the money is too little and probably only temporary, given large projected budget cuts that the Legislature will have to make to cover revenue loss from the major tax-cut bill also passed in the recently concluded session.
State base funding, the primary operational money for schools, has fallen substantially since 2008.
The state is arguing that the base money is only one piece of the school funding pie and that counting federal money and optional local property tax increases, school spending is actually higher than it was before the Legislature began cutting base aid.
For Wichita, Allison testified that the state has had the district on corrective action for the past eight years, meaning that its not reaching state yearly achievement goals.
He also testified that the state standards are growing tougher to meet year by year.
Based on preliminary test results, the district will fall further behind and have fewer schools that will make adequate yearly progress for 2012, he said.
The Wichita district is the largest school district in the state, representing about 10 percent of the statewide school population.
The district also has a large and growing population of poor students, Allison testified.
He testified that three out of 10 students come from households that are in extreme poverty, struggling to meet basic subsistence needs.