Hutchinson schools prep for possible summer shut down

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Lawyers for the State of Kansas hope to persuade the Kansas Supreme Court to accept changes in the state's public school funding system. If the court rejects the plan, Kansas schools may shut down this summer.

Now, the Hutchinson school district has revealed plans for possible furloughs.

Superintendent Dr. Shelly Kiblinger discussed those plans with the USD 308 Board of Education Monday. The district is a plaintiff in a lawsuit that alleges state funding for schools is both inequitable and inadequate, the district states in a press release. Kiblinger plans to be at the Kansas Supreme Court Tuesday.

The district said any impact on schools would not occur until after July 1, which is when most staff is not at work. Dr. Kiblinger said it would likely take several days for any court order to go into effect.

“Once shut down, Dr. Kiblinger anticipates a small skeleton crew would be allowed to work,” the district states in a release. “Those individuals primarily would monitor district facilities to make sure nothing breaks and is secure. She also anticipates the court would allow the district to pay property and liability insurance, make bond and interest payments, pay utilities and other critical decision makers, including the superintendent.”

- Other 12-month, hourly and salaried employees would be furloughed.
- District facilities would not be used for activities, which include summer camps, feeding programs and extended school year/summer school programs.
- The district would shut down credit cards. This would help avoid fraud but also have the impact preventing staff from attending summer professional development.
- If the shutdown lasts long enough, it could delay the start of the 2016-17 school year. Enrollment for school is the first week of August. The first day of school for pre-kindergarten through ninth grade is Aug. 17.