Poorer Kansas school districts being left behind

State school funding reductions and freezes have been particularly hard on poorer school district, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. In addition to cutting capital outlay aid to school districts, the state has held equalization aid flat. And as more districts raise local property taxes to offset state funding cuts, equalization aid is falling behind – an estimated $74 million short this fiscal year and $113 million next year. This shortfall only affects poorer districts, not the wealthiest 51 districts in the state that don’t receive equalization aid. And it is harder for poorer districts than the rich to raise money locally (which is the point of the equalization aid). For example, a single mill of property taxes in the Kaw Valley school district near Topeka generates about $281,900, while 1 mill in the neighboring district of Royal Valley raises only $27,500.