Opinion Columns & Blogs

Will Wichita’s USD 259 get more money to handle refugees?

When the State Finance Council met in August to consider school districts’ pleas for money from the “extraordinary needs fund” created by the block-grant funding law, the council turned away Wichita’s request for $980,000 to help educate refugees from Somalia, Myanmar and other countries and advised USD 259 to try again in October. The district, which was charged $1.1 million by the state to help create the new fund, has been notified that its request will be revisited at the council’s Nov. 9 meeting, according to Diane Gjerstad, the district’s government relations manager. But just as the council only approved $6 million of the allotted $12.3 million to help 34 districts in August, it’s not hard to imagine the group being tightfisted on Nov. 9, especially if the new consensus revenue estimates to be released on Nov. 6 forecast continuing budget problems. – Rhonda Holman