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Questions & Answers to a possible school shutdown

Questions & Answers to a possible school shutdown

(Wednesday, June 8, 2016)

Students, Staff, Parents and Patrons:

As you know the Governor and Legislature are under a court-imposed deadline of June 30th to fix the inequities in how the state distributes LOB education dollars. If the deadline is missed schools will not have the funds required to operate in the new fiscal year and will shutdown.

The past two years have been a struggle politically and financially in Kansas. The last thing the Governor and Legislature needs 30 days before the primary election August 2nd is another epic fail and constitutional crisis on their resume. For this reason I am cautiously optimistic that the Legislature and Governor will fix the equity issue.  The real question and issue to watch for is what additional political or ideological baggage will they attach to any proposed solution? Unfortunately, I expect the Legislature and Governor to attack the courts and try to impose limitations on our independent judiciary. 

I have included some Q & A’s below that may help you understand the potential scope of and plan for a shutdown in the event that our elected officials fail to lead.

Is a school shutdown a certainty? No, the Governor has said he will call a special session for the Legislature to attempt to fix the equity issue. They could do this relatively easily if they possessed the political will and leadership to do so.

When would a shutdown occur? The deadline to address the inequities is June 30th so we anticipate a shutdown would commence on July 1st

What would a school shutdown look like for USD #372? We are not exactly certain since this is unprecedented however we assume basic operations and access would cease. There may be some services deemed “essential” by the court that may be allowed to continue such as:

  • Payment of Property, casualty and liability insurance
  • Payment of utilities to keep critical infrastructure running (HVAC, Technology)
  • Some positions may be allowed to continue to monitor critical functions
  • Normal summer work such as cleaning, mowing, projects and maintenance would cease
  • Delivery, inventory and distribution of supplies and equipment would cease

What is the likely short-term impact on staff, students and patrons? Essentially all school based activities and services would end such as:

  • Summer weights and all access to the weight room would end
  • Gyms would be closed
  • Summer academic camps would be cancelled
  • Summer athletic camps would be cancelled
  • Summer leagues using facilities would be cancelled
  • All summer professional development would be cancelled
  • All summer curriculum work would be cancelled
  • The track and ball fields would remain open to the public but will not be maintained

What is the likely long-term impact on staff, students and patrons?

  • The delay of normally scheduled work, supplies and planning may push back the start of school
  • The delay in the start of school may impact September payroll and possibly health insurance after that
  • If cash balances are spent down maintaining essential services, major initiatives we have saved for such as our planned Outdoor Learning Center and 1 to 1 Technology Initiative will be delayed or cancelled
  • Calendar adjustment may push the next school year out into next summer to make up for lost instructional time at the start of this year

How can parents and students prepare for the implications of a school shutdown?

  • Parents with young children may want to arrange for an extension of summer daycare arrangements
  • Students and parents need to prepare for a delay in enrollment and the start of school
  • With any delay to the start of school, students need to prepare for a reduction or loss of co-curricular practices, games and activities
  • Students need to prepare for the loss of college courses taken through the school with a delayed start
  • Voice your concerns with elected officials both personally and with your vote
  • Follow the district website, Facebook page and local news reports for updates and developments

We will continue to update our website and Facebook page with pertinent information and developments. Please continue to do your part to stay informed on this critical issue. Some reliable sources of information you may want to follow in print, online or on twitter are: Topeka Capital Journal, Kansas City Star, Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas State Department of Education, Game On Kansas, Randy Watson,  Mark Tallman, Celia Llopis-Jepson, Bryan Lowry and Jonathan Shorman.

Tim Hallacy

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Contact Information

USD 372
200 Rice Rd
P.O. Box 39
Silver Lake, Kansas 66539
Phone: 785-582-4026
Fax: 785-582-5259