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What to know if KS schools close at end of June

Posted at 4:05 PM, Jun 02, 2016

One day after Kansas state lawmakers missed the deadline to fix the state's school funding formula, Shawnee Mission School District's superintendent announced his district is not making any contingency plans. 

"We are planning on being fully operational July 1 and we are fully planning to start school on Aug. 12," said Dr. Jim Hinson, the district's superintendent. 

Speaking to parents, teachers and reporters on Thursday, Hinson expressed disappointment with lawmakers and the courts. But his message remained clear - from his standpoint, there is no need to worry. 

"There has never been a delay to the start of a school year by any type of action from a court or from a legislature," Hinson said. "I still believe that our elected officials are going to find a way to resolve the issue before June 30." 

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS: If you would like to contact your state lawmakers on school funding, you can find them by clicking here.

Cindy Holscher and her daughter Madeline listened in the crowd. Madeline is slated to start fifth grade in the fall, but her mother told 41 Action News she's anxious about what will happen at the end of the month. 

"This has been coming and coming and coming. As a parent, I am very anxious about it, very nervous," Holscher said. "The legislature at this point needs to solve the issue." 

Last Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled the legislature did not meet its constitutional requirements yet again. The latest ruling reiterated a June 30 deadline. If lawmakers do not find a way to fix the funding system and make it equitable, the court would not allow money to be "raised, distributed, or spent" under a school funding system that is inequitable. 

While it is still unclear what schools would be allowed to do, Hinson said his district is not working on a contingency plan. The district has enough money to operate and open on time, he said. 

"We have the money currently in our budget. We have encumbered expenditures and that's part of the question - what can and can't happen," he said. 

Lawrence, KCK and Olathe school districts confirmed to 41 Action News they have begun working on backup plans in case the court orders schools to close. 

A spokeswoman with the Lawrence School District told 41 Action News the district has enough money in reserves to operate through the month of July. A KCK spokesman told 41 Action News his district has enough money saved to operate only 12 days. 

"We can't just sit back and wait and hope for the best. We've been doing that for two years and we are in the same position we were," said Kathy Cook, a concerned Johnson County resident. 

 

Superintendent Jim Hinson sent this video message to parents in the district after the news conference. 

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Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.

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