Schools Get Financial Help from Communities

Education cuts in the state's FY 2009 and FY 2010 budgets are causing schools to make severe cuts or find alternative forms of income. Some school districts offer a way the community can help keep those cuts from hurting Kansas students.

Shawnee Heights USD 450 has set up the Shawnee Heights Business Partner and Community Supporter program that offers several different ways to help schools by providing opportunities for people to donate money to the district.

USD 450 has sent about 400 letters to local business leaders and also offers an online form for donating and other ways people can help the district.

USD 450 Community Relations Liaison, Gretchen Gleue Woody, is heading up the effort to connect with company and community members. She said the school recently hung the first banner for one of its company donors - KVC Behavioral Healthcare - in the high school gymnasium as advertisement. Shawnee Heights Middle School also received 45 calculators - part of a teachers' "wish list" under the program - partially donated by Robuck Jewelers and the rest purchased from a cash donation by Educational Credit Union.

Woody said donors can choose a school program or department to receive their donation, or the money will be put toward a "wish list" made by district teachers.

Topeka Public Schools USD 501 offers opportunities to give to the Topeka School Fund.

This comes as Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.) Tuesday said she likes what she's seeing so far from legislative committees when it comes to education funding.

Both the House and Senate budget committees have endorsed Sebelius' plan to use federal stimulus dollars to avoid deep cuts in aid to public schools.

But House committee Chairman Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican, said all decisions will be reviewed again next week. That's when his panel will finish its work on a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Sebelius has proposed using $192 million in education dollars from the federal stimulus package in the next budget. That will keep aid to public schools at the level in the current budget, as revised by Sebelius and legislators this year.

Hear from USD 450 Superintendent Dr. Marty Stessman

Hear from USD 450 Community Relations Liaison Gretchen Gleue Woody


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