Kansas delayed the latest portion of the scheduled aid payment to 295 local school districts for the fourth consecutive month in response to sluggish tax collections.

State budget director Duane Goossen said last week that the state distributed $48 million of the expected January payment of $96 million on time, and would send out the remainder within seven days.

He said the money was withheld so the state would have the cash to meet its payroll and pay essential bills.

Goossen also said the state did not contribute the $70 million it had been scheduled to provide to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System on Jan. 15. He said the contribution would be made in February, and that no retiree benefits would be affected by the late payment.

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said the continuing delays in the monthly school aid payment is an indication that the state may have a budget deficit when fiscal 2010 ends June 30.

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