17 Jun Medicaid Funding Cuts Could Affect Kan. Schools (KS)June 17, 2010
By: KCTV5Source: KCTV5
Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson vowed in April that there would be no more cuts in education funding, but a potential loss of federal funds now has him scrambling.
Kansas along with 29 other states could be in big trouble if an extension in federal stimulus money to state Medicaid programs doesn’t come through. Kansas legislators were banking on getting $130 million in federal Medicaid money so they factored it in when they balanced the budget. But if that money doesn’t come through, it could mean cuts to the classrooms.
"I cautioned the governor not to count on funding until it has been signed into law," said Sen. Pat Roberts. "The governor and I agree that Medicaid funding is vital to Kansas, but we must be able to pay for it without going further into debt."
"I’m concerned," said Parkinson. "Not just for Kansas, but for the country."
Parkinson said education will be where Kansas will have to make some big cuts if they have to make up the money.
"There is no way to make cuts in the budget without looking at education, which in Kansas literally means thousands of teachers cou ld lose their jobs," Parkinson said.
In the De Soto School District, officials have already cut $4 million and 23 staff members will not be back, although there have been no teacher layoffs.
"If we face more cuts, we’re down to looking at people and programs," said Alvie Cater, the district’s director of administrative services.
De Soto officials are still waiting for the state to pay them for this fiscal year. Cater said threats of less money from Topeka will be a tough lesson.
"As money drops and budgets are reduced, it will be difficult but we have to focus as a school district," he said. "We have to give our kids the best education possible."
In Missouri, legislators made their budget without relying on the federal funds so they don’t have to worry about this issue.