Representative Jim Ward, Democrat from Wichita and former Wichita school board member, stated in a KAKE Television news story “If you cut $10 million, you’re now cutting into the bone, the marrow, and you’re going to have a significant impact on the ability to deliver education.”
The $10 million Rep. Ward refers to is the amount that USD 259, the Wichita public school district, may lose if across-the-board cuts are made to the Kansas budget. Mr. Ward would prefer surgical cuts, which would limit the harm to the Wichita schools to $2 million.
Will a loss of $10 million cause the harm that Ward describes? While $10 million is a lot of money, the budget of the Wichita schools for this year is about $604 million. In perspective, the across-the-board cuts amount to about 1.6 percent of the budget.
Could the Wichita school district survive on 1.6% less? Would a cut of this magnitude significantly impact the education of Wichita schoolchildren?