Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Shortfall could affect teachers’ paychecks

State workers in peril of not being paid Friday

April 10, 2002

Not even Dale Dennis, the state's deputy education commissioner, knows when school districts will receive the second half of April's state aid.

"We would anticipate it sometime the latter part of the month," Dennis said. "I can't tell you a date because it all boils down to revenues."

In an e-mail sent to constituents Tuesday afternoon, state Rep. Marti Crow, D-Leavenworth, wrote that the second half of the state's scheduled April school payments might not be paid until May.

Tonganoxie School Superin-tendent Richard Erickson said the district received the first half of this month's $300,000 payment on April 2. Normally, he said, the state deposits the full amount in the school's bank account the first day of each month.

Erickson said he's hoping the rest of the state aid will arrive before payday, April 20. But, he said the school can make do, temporarily, if it doesn't.

"We have some contingency plans," Erickson said. "And we'll be able to survive. We have some balances in some various funds that we can draw upon right now to use to make payroll."

But for each day the money's late, the district loses interest. This month, the full amount would have drawn about $312 in interest.

Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said he's counting on receiving the month's remaining school funding in mid-April when income tax returns are due.

"Around April 15, there will be heavy tax receipts coming in," Wilk said.

As it is, he said, the state is scrambling to figure how how to make the state's payroll this Friday.

"We've got $3.7 million in the bank and $17 million dollars of payroll," Wilk said.

Crow termed the financial crunch "alarming."

"I'm not on the appropriations committee, so I don't really know about the state budget," Crow said, "But I'm looking at my own home budget or my small business budget and this looks to me like a very serious situation."

But Erickson remains positive.

"If the state can fulfill its obligation and provide full funding, even though it's late, we'll survive," he said.

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