Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2008

District to minimize potential tax increase

Lawrence school staffers are working hard to trim their budgets. Administrators are worried about rising energy costs and flat real estate values.

July 10, 2008


Lawrence schools Superintendent Randy Weseman said Wednesday that it would take a 2-mill increase to maintain existing services for next year.

But he has asked staff members to prepare scenarios to tighten budgets that don't directly affect classroom instruction because school board members have indicated they want anywhere from a flat mill levy to a 0.8 mill increase.

"There's no doubt in my mind it's not a 2-mill discussion. It's how much under a mill can you bring it down and still produce these services," Weseman said.

The budget process is being complicated this year by rising energy costs and flat property valuations. District staff members are gathering information, and board members will get a budget presentation at their 7 p.m. July 21 meeting.

"Our intent is to stay flat if we can," board member Linda Robinson said.

Currently, no personnel cuts are being considered.

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

The economic situation has also made board members and administrators shy away from wanting to increase enrollment and bus fees and to try to minimize a property tax increase.

"People are out there trying to make their own budgets work; we recognize we need to do the same thing," Weseman said.

Administrators expect the district to get about $1.8 million in new unrestricted state funding, which includes about $680,000 voters narrowly approved in the April local-option budget election.

The district also has to settle contract negotiations with teachers, and a mediator will be brought in later this month because the sides are $1 million apart on raises for next year.

The budget challenge could also get steeper midyear, especially if diesel fuel prices continue to rise, Weseman said. The area's flat real estate valuations also complicate the process.

"That's kind of a double-witching effect, so that makes it more difficult. It doesn't make it undoable," he said, "but it makes it more difficult."


Godot 9 years, 11 months ago

The state will probably try to raise its mill levy, too; revenues are already below expectations.Other cities and states that are faced with either revenue shortfalls or budget overruns, however you want to paint it, are cutting staff and entitlements, and they are doing so without all this angst and gnashing of teeth.Lawrence officials need to get realistic.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 11 months ago

When you hear the term "mill" think of millions of dollars. Every "mill" they want out of us is millions more we won't have in our pockets.

weeslicket 9 years, 11 months ago

"People are out there trying to make their own budgets work; we recognize we need to do the same thing," Weseman said.during this decade of mr. weseman's "leadership", he has never gotten any of this right. tax levies continue to go up, but we have little to show for it. maintenance of infrastructure never takes place at the needed pace (but just look at how much money has been socked away into the capital outlay fund). your teachers and staff continue to be underpaid in comparison to surrounding districts, even while the administrators are overpaid (only one of the reasons why teachers and staff have no respect for this administration). and the community rightfully distrusts anything that comes out of his mouth. i am not aware of these problems in any surrounding districts, are you?once again, the school board needs to grow some courage and tell mr. weseman to step down.

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 11 months ago

The legislature has adjourned so state levies are fixed.

KsTwister 9 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence---as ridiculous as it gets. I told you the vote in their special election would not go where they said it would. Here's your proof. Stupid anyway you look at it, Lawrence voters are the most gullible lot to let it happen too.

LogicMan 9 years, 11 months ago

"Currently, no personnel cuts are being considered."That must always be on the table, even if only a silent hiring freeze. Take a hard look to see if whole layers of administration can be deleted.

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