State Rep. Joe McLeland, R-Wichita, said at a forum Saturday that USD 259 had $252 million in fund balances as of December. "Schools have a lot of money," McLeland claimed. But more than $242 million of that total, or 96 percent, is school bond and capital outlay money that can't be used for other purposes. The remaining $10 million consists of student fees for textbooks and grants — which also can't be used elsewhere. Either McLeland, chairman of the House Education Budget Committee, doesn't know what these funds are for, or he was being deliberately misleading. Which is worse?McLeland also said at the forum that he would introduce a bill this week to prevent districts from transferring general fund money into restricted funds. Most such transfers go to special education funds. State and federal statutes mandate that districts provide special education services, but neither government adequately funds them. As a result, districts are forced to transfer money in order to cover the shortfall.
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