by Kim Hynes (WICHITA, Kan.)
Kansas courts will shut down for 12 extra days next year because of budget cuts. That means court employees will be furloughed and forced to stay home without pay.
Sedgwick County District Court Chief Judge James Fleetwood says he's sorry that it's come to this. Earlier this year, lawmakers cut the judicial budget by $8.3 million. He was hopeful lawmakers would reinstate the money in January. But Monday the governor announced that he only planned for $5 million to be put back. That leaves a $3.3 million deficit for the courts.
Fleetwood says shutting down the courts will have a major impact on the community. Not only will employees lose pay, but essential services provided by the court will also be put on hold. The sheriff is also concerned, because when the courts are closed people have to stay in jail longer. He says he's already dealing with overcrowding and this could make it worse.