Mill levies in Lawrence-area school districts will drop drastically this year as a result of new school financing legislation designed to provide property tax relief.
In May, Gov. Joan Finney signed into law two companion finance bills. The new laws established a uniform statewide property tax levy of 32 mills, or $288 for a home appraised at $75,000, for the 1992 tax year. A mill equals $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed valuation.
One measure creates a new, state program to help districts pay for their building projects. Tonganoxie, Eudora and DeSoto hope to take advantage of the program by proposing bond issues to voters in the Nov. 3 election.
Under the new financing system, school districts will operate on a 12-month budget instead of budgeting for 18 months as they've done in the past. Some of the district budgets will be revised when final enrollment figures are determined.
Here's a look at area school district mill levies and budgets.
Basehor-Linwood: This school district will see a 35.638-mill drop in the levy this year. Supt. Edwin Sink said the district's levy will decrease from 73.138 to 37.5 mills, which includes the 32-mill general fund levy plus 4 mills for the capital outlay fund and 1.5 mills for bond and interest. The 1992-93 budget is $8,641,689.
Sink said the additional state aid will enable the district to provide salary increases, construct a four-room addition at Basehor Elementary School and purchase materials for the high school's building trades class to build a new central office.
Perry-Lecompton: "With the new state financing, we gain significant budget authority," said Supt. Henry Murphy, of the Perry-Lecompton school district.
The school board approved a 1992-93 budget of $6,710,173. The district's levy will drop from 69.2 to 39.66 mills, which includes 32 mills for the general fund, 4 for capital outlay, and 3.66 for bond and interest.
Murphy said the district has allotted additional funds to capital outlay, food service, special education, transportation and vocational education.
McLouth: The district's levy is expected to drop by 23.53 mills this year from 68.56 mills to 45.03 mills, which includes 32 mills for the general fund, 4 mills for capital outlay and 9.03 mills for bond and interest.
The 1992-93 budget is $4,054,860.
Baldwin: Taxpayers here should see the levy fall by 32.71 mills, from 76.87 last year to 43.25, which includes the state-mandated 32 mills plus an additional local option of 3.49 mills for the general fund, 4 mills for capital outlay and 3.76 mills for bond and interest. The district's 1992-93 budget is $5,446,260.
Oskaloosa: The levy is expected to drop by 31.95 mills, from 67.95 to 36 mills, which includes the 32-mill general fund levy plus 4 mills for capital outlay. The school board approved a 1992-93 budget of $4,698,911.
Supt. Jim White said the board intentionally kept the district's budget low this year.
"The spirit of what the Legislators did in Topeka was to lower the mill levy, and our board concurred with that," he said. "It's a light year for taxpayers."
Wellsville: The district's levy will drop 30.63 mills from 80.35 to 49.72 mills, which includes the state-mandated 32 mills and a 3.04-mill local option for the general fund, 10.68 mills for bond and interest and 4 mills for the capital outlay fund. Board members approved a 1992-93 budget of $4,164,026.
Eudora: The 1991-92 levy was 50.88, the lowest of area school districts. The estimated levy for 1992-93 is 40 mills, including the statewide general fund levy of 32, 4 mills for capital outlay and 4 mills for bond and interest. Board members approved a 1992-93 budget of $8,303,251.
Voters will face a $6 million bond issue in the Nov. 3 general election. If it passes, it won't affect the levy until 1993-94, when it would add an estimated 16.83 mills.
Tonganoxie: The Tonganoxie school district levy is expected to decrease from 81.189 mills to 53.192, which includes 32 mills for the general fund, 10.916 for the local option, 4 mills for capital outlay, and 6.276 for bond and interest. The 1992-93 budget is for $8,719,322.
The Tonganoxie ballot in November's general election will feature a $9.2 million bond issue question. If it passes, it will finance construction of an upper elementary school and an addition at the high school and will add 12.5 mills to the 1992-93 levy, bringing the total to 67.693 mills.
DeSoto: Taxpayers here could see a 24-mill drop in the district's mill levy this year. The levy is expected to decrease from 67 mills in 1991-92 to 43 mills, including the 32-mill general fund, 7 mills for the local option, and 4 mills for capital outlay. Board members approved a 1992-93 budget of $11,094,184.
If DeSoto voters approve a $14,725 million bond issue in November, the levy will increase by 19 mills to 62 mills. The bond issue would finance a new high school, new middle school, air conditioning in all elementary buildings, site improvements at the current high school, conversion of the existing high school to a middle school, and land acquisition.