Local property taxes definitely would fall under a school finance plan approved by the Kansas Legislature on Tuesday, but the extent of that drop could vary, depending upon the Lawrence school board's spending decisions.
The finance plan calls for a uniform mill levy of 32 mills to support the general fund budgets of Kansas' 304 school districts. Presently, the Lawrence school district's general fund mill levy stands at 69.478 mills.
A mill is $1 in property tax for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The Lawrence school district's total mill levy, which supports capital outlay expenditures, bond and interest payments and other funds in addition to the general fund, stands at 77.044 mills. If the general fund mill levy were to drop to 32 mills and all other parts of the total mill levy were to remain unchanged, the district's total mill levy would drop to 39.566 mills.
For the owner of a $75,000 home, that would mean $356 in annual property taxes, down from the $693 the homeowner pays now.
Under the finance plan, the Lawrence school board could increase its spending authority for next year by about $1,052,000 without raising the local mill levy. In addition, the local school board would have the option of raising property taxes by as much as 7.4 mills beyond the 32-mill statewide levy. That would bring in roughly $2.9 million.
If the board were to make full use of that option, the district's total mill levy could be in the neighborhood of 46.9 mills. For the owner of a $75,000 home, that would mean about $422 in annual property taxes, or a 39 percent drop from what the homeowner pays now.
School board member John Tacha also noted that considerable construction is occuring in the district now, meaning the mill levy needed to finance school programs probably will drop because of an increase in the district's property valuation.