KANSAS CITY — As the number of Kansas schools enrolling new students has risen over the past several years, teachers and other resource workers say they’ve been pushed out of the job market and their skills have diminished.
The Kansas Department of Education has seen its caseload increase by a third in the past five years.
It’s now more than 500,000 students enrolled in Kansas public schools and has a caselow of more than 2 million students, according to a new report released Monday.
The department’s caselows are at an all-time high of more then 2.2 million students and are expected to climb even higher this year, according the report, released by the Kansas Association of Public School Administrators.
The number of students enrolled nationally, including those enrolled in private and charter schools, rose 8.3% to 5.3 million last year, the association said.
A total of 1.5 million students were enrolled in public schools last year.
In a sign of the strain on Kansas classrooms, the Kansas Department for Elementary and Secondary Education in September cut its budget by 10% to $6.6 million, or more than 1% of its budget.
The department’s annual budget is about $10 million, said Katie Cavanaugh, a spokeswoman.
The KESA also cut the number that receive state support to 50,000, or 10% of the student population.
That’s down from 80,000 and about 30% of KESAs current caselots, Cavanaugh said.
The agency has been hit hard by the downturn in the housing market, which has led to higher tuition and out-of-pocket costs for some teachers.
A recent report by the KESI showed that in fiscal 2017, state funds for teachers were down by more than $1.4 billion, or about 3% of total state funding.
In an effort to fill the gap, the KesI has sought to cut its cashels by almost 8,000 staff, including staff at all the state’s 16 school districts.
But the department has said it can’t fill all of its casels, and some districts have already begun to close their classrooms.
At the University of Kansas, for example, it’s closing its student services office to allow for more staff and more staff to help students learn online.
The university also plans to shut down all of the KIS departments and programs that support arts and culture, arts and health and social studies and mathematics and science.
The numbers of students at KESIs four largest campuses, Kansas City, Lawrence and Wichita, have declined sharply over the last two years.
Students have dropped from 4,700 in 2012 to 1,500 in 2015.
The number at KBSs campus in Lawrence has fallen from 4.6 in 2012, when it had nearly 2,000 enrolled students, to about 2,100 this year.
At the same time, enrollment at the state college campuses has increased from about 8,700 students last year to nearly 13,000 this year after it closed several campus buildings in the early 2000s.