As Kansans debate school funding, as the Kansas Supreme Court considers ordering more school spending, and as school spending boosters insisting that school spending has been slashed, a fact remains constant: Kansas schools don’t spend all the money they’ve been given. Fund balances grew in many years, and rose rapidly this year.
Fund balances are necessary for cash flow management. The issue is what levels of balances are necessary. Based on recent data from the Kansas State Department of Education, fund balances rose rapidly after 2008, remained largely level from 2011 through 2015, and rose for 2016.
For the school year ending in 2015, total cash balances were $1,745,557,046. (This total does not include non-school funds like museums and recreation center funds.) For 2016, the figure was 1,871,026,493. This is an increase of $125,469,450, or 7.2 percent.
Kansans might wonder why schools did not spend some of these funds to offset cuts they have contended were necessary.
I’ve gathered data about unspent Kansas school funds and presented it as an interactive visualization. You may explore the data yourself by using the visualization. Click here to open the visualization in a new window. Data is from Kansas State Department of Education. Visualization created using Tableau Public.