November 29, 2014

Advisory board warns of Kansas court shortfall

An advisory council presented its plan to address a $8.25 million shortfall in Kansas judicial branch funding.
The Court Budget Advisory Council delivered the report to the Kansas Supreme Court on Dec. 13. The plan mentions 11 strategies to provide savings, but the council only recommends using seven of the strategies for immediate, short-term savings.
The strategies include maintaining and possibly increasing job vacancies, eliminating court service officer positions and furloughing non-judicial employees.
Also included was a recommendation to delay filling judicial openings, which would require changes to Kansas statute, and to reduce a grant that historically has been awarded to Kansas Legal Services to promote access to justice by those with few financial resources.
Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawron R. Nuss said he appreciates the hard work of the budget advisory council.
“Their objective look at all potential outcomes reflects their thoroughness, as well as the central factor that 96 percent of the judicial branch’s budget is for salaries and wages,” Nuss said. “Their report makes it abundantly clear that if the legislature does not appropriate more money, tough decisions – including closing Kansas courts – will need to be made.”
The Council’s full report is available on the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org/pdf/CBAC-Report-12132013.pdf.

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