TOPEKA — The state will have to cut at least $258.8 million to balance the current budget by the end of the fiscal year, revenue estimators said Thursday.
The state is expected to bring in about 4.2 percent less in 2010 than forecast in April — or $235.2 million less, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group said.
The projected minimum budget cut doesn’t include an estimated $155 million public schools are likely to need to cover increased student populations, special education and a jump in students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. That number swells the cuts needed to balance the 2010 budget, which ends June 30, to $459 million.
Not including the additional money for schools is the equivalent to cutting about $150 from per pupil state aid, said Alan Conroy, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department.
No matter which number is used, “it’s a tremendous hole,” said Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which handles the budget.
Either number is likely to result in more cuts to public schools.