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Archive for Thursday, September 2, 1993

BOND ISSUES SPUR GROWTH IN BUDGETS

September 2, 1993

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Projected mill levies in all but two school districts surrounding Lawrence are on the rise as schools prepare to levy additional taxes in the coming year to generate funds for their 1993-94 budgets.

All districts were mandated by the state to increase the uniform general fund levy by one mill, from 32 to 33. Also, voters in several districts passed bond issues since last November that resulted in additional mills levied for debt retirement.

Some districts act as a levying body for the town's recreation commission, collecting the tax money to be funneled directly into the organization.

A mill is $1 in taxation for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.

Baldwin: The district's levy is expected to increase by about 15.5 mills, mainly because of building projects approved by voters in April. The 1993-94 levy is projected at 60.12 mills, up from 44.59 in 1992-93. The levy includes the state mandated 33 mills for the general fund, 4 mills for the capital outlay fund, 21.79 mills for bond and interest and 1.33 mills for the recreation commission. This year's total budget was approved by the school board at $7,674,718.

Supt. John Nuspl said the additional expenditures in this year's budget are for salary increases and building projects. An $8.95 million bond issue passed in April, providing funds for building a new high school and additions at Vinland and Marion Springs elementary schools.

Eudora: Voters here approved a $6 million bond issue in November to finance construction of a new high school, and as a result taxpayers will see an increase in the district's levy from 40 in 1992-93 to 53.9 in 1993-94. The levy includes 33 mills for the general fund, 4 mills for capital outlay and 16.9 mills for bond and interest.

"All of the increase is related to debt retirement, primarily at the high school," said Supt. Dan Bloom.

He pointed out that while the levy went up, the $7,213,830 budget is about $220,000 less than last year's because of changes in the state's formula for providing funding.

"Despite everything that's going on, we're getting less money to run our schools," he said.

DeSoto: Taxpayers here will see a jump of about 20 mills in the district's levy from 43.35 in 1992-93 to a projected 63.65 in 1993-94. The levy includes 33 mills for the general fund, 7.67 mills for the supplemental general fund, 4 mills for capital outlay, and 18.98 mills for bond and interest. The main reason for the increase is new construction approved by voters last November. A $14.7 million bond issue was passed to fund construction of a new middle school and a new high school.

Sharon Zoellner, director of finance and student services for the DeSoto district, said despite the increase, the levy still is lower than it was two years ago. The 1991-92 levy was 67 mills.

The 1993-94 total budget is $7,338,240.

McLouth: The school district levy will drop slightly because of an increase in the district's assessed valuation, said Supt. Robert Behrens. The 1992-93 levy was 45.83 mills and the 1993-94 levy is projected at 45.7 mills, which includes 33 for the general fund, 4 for capital outlay, 7.7 for bond and interest and 1 for the recreation commission. The 1993-94 budget is $4,308,285.

Behrens said the budget reflects the hiring of an additional second grade teacher and an elementary school paraprofessional "to keep class size down."

"But other than that, it's business as usual," he said.

Perry-Lecompton: The levy here will rise about 5 mills in response to a $1.5 million school bond issue that passed in April. The money will fund additions and renovations at Perry-Lecompton High School and the purchase of computers for students at all the district's schools. The 1992-93 levy was 39.58 mills, and the 1993-94 levy is projected at 44.63 mills, including 33 for the general fund, 4 for capital outlay and 7.63 for bond and interest.

Supt. Henry Murphy said the school board approved a 1993-94 budget of $7,086,350, which reflects a $150,000 educational excellence grant the district received to enhance technology offerings.

Wellsville: Taxpayers here will see a slight increase in the district's mill levy from 51.65 to 53.19, including 33 mills for the general fund, 7.29 for the supplemental general fund, 4 for capital outlay, 6.75 for bond and interest and 2.15 for the recreation commission. The approved 1993-94 budget is $6,129,550.

"It's like everything else -- your expenses are up," said Gwen Boone, school board clerk.

She said the budget includes a new $200,000 allocation for technological improvements, and money budgeted for remodeling a section of the school for improved energy efficiency next summer.

Tonganoxie: Budget cuts and changes in the budget authority allowed by the state resulted in a drop of about 9 mills in the district's levy for the coming year. The 1992-93 levy was 54.38 mills, and the 1993-94 levy is 45.43 including 33 mills for the general fund, 4 mills for the capital outlay fund, 6.96 mills for bond and interest and 1.47 mills for the recreation commission. The 1993-94 budget is $8,368,100.

Supt. Ron Burgess said the school board felt heavy pressure from the community to cut spending, so the capital outlay fund was decreased by about $217,000, and the supplemental general fund was decreased by about $210,000.

"We won't have nearly as much flexibility in doing some major repairs this year," he said. "We really pared each line item down to the bare necessities. It was a shoehorn job all the way."

Oskaloosa: The school board in May adopted a local option budget to raise $1.8 million over the next four years for new construction, which added 11 mills to the district's levy. The 1992-93 levy was 36 mills and the 1993-94 levy is projected at 47 mills, including 33 for the general fund, 4 for capital outlay and 10 for the supplemental general fund.

Supt. Jim White said the additional money will fund construction of six classrooms at the elementary school, a gymnasium at the middle school and a new home economics classroom at the high school.

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