Archive for Tuesday, August 11, 2009

School board approves budget, sets mill levy

Rain delaying athletic facilities upgrades

August 11, 2009


Construction running behind

Some parts of Lawrence high schools' athletic facility construction are running behind. Enlarge video

The Lawrence school board raised its mill levy by .685 mill on Monday night and approved a $147.3 million budget for the 2009-2010 school year. The increase, directly related to a decrease in the assessed valuation of property, brings the district’s mill levy to 58 mills.

The capital outlay mill levy will remain at 6 mills instead of the maximum of 8, which was the figure published. This fund is for projects related to buildings and facility improvements and cannot be spent on items that fall under the general fund, like teacher salaries.

“It makes us nervous, but it is manageable,” said Superintendent Rick Doll. “We do understand the climate that we’re in.”

The motion to keep the capital outlay mill levy at 6 was a 4-3 decision, with board members Mark Bradford, Mary Loveland and Marlene Merrill opposing and board President Scott Morgan and members Rich Minder, Bob Byers and Vanessa Sanburn voting in favor.

“Holding it at 6 makes a statement. We’ll have to cut. We’ll have to slow down,” Morgan said. “We just want to keep that support out there. It’s just one of those intangibles that we’re playing with.”

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

The board has cut $2.5 million from the budget already and was able to avoid further cuts after a state quirk in counting full-time students allowed the district to include virtual school students for one year in a three-year average, resulting in an extra $1.6 million.

The board was presented with a list of capital outlay projects that have been requested by building principals and other district personnel. With the lower mill levy, there will be less money for those projects.

Athletic facility updates

The rain just will not go away and that means delays on the upgrades at the outdoor athletic facilities at both high schools.

“We have to keep in mind that in June and July we’ve had 13 inches of rain,” said Chief Operations Officer Frank Harwood. “There are some things that are significantly behind.”

Those projects include the new parking lot at Lawrence High. Sophomores return to school on Wednesday and the other two grades will join them for classes Thursday. Harwood said it will be a little tight on Thursday and Friday because the lot will have the same number of spaces available as last year, but by next Monday, there should be another 250 parking spots ready.

The other main project that is behind is the new tennis courts, located at the Lawrence Virtual School site. Harwood said if work started today, it would still take 56 days to complete the facility.

“We left the tennis courts there and didn’t get started on the new ones until the rain really got started,” he said.

The LHS soccer field will probably not be completed until mid-September, so the team will be practicing at Holcom and can use the football field for games.

The restroom plan at LHS has also been changed. The new plan includes a building on the south side of the football field that would hold restrooms and concessions. Another smaller building for restrooms will be on the northwest corner.

A plan for press boxes at both football sites was presented but the board did not make a decision on whether to approve the contract.


workinghard 8 years, 10 months ago

Usually they break it down to how much that means for say a house valued at say $100,000. So does that mean for every $100,000 it would be $68?

bmwjhawk 8 years, 10 months ago


11.5% of $100,000 is the assessed value.

$11500 X 6 mills (.006)

= $69

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 10 months ago

The Lawrence School Board raised "its" mill levy? Wrong. The Lawrence School Board raised YOUR mill levy.

salad 8 years, 10 months ago

“We do understand the climate that we’re in.”

Yeah, the climate where if we don't have the size gravy train we think we deserve, that we can just stick it to public, rather than live within our means like everyone else, especially private businesses. Rasing the mill levy should require a public vote. Educrats = evil

JSDAD 8 years, 10 months ago

The new law of supply and demand, if revenues go down raise your prices. if it worked then the school board shouldnt have to raise thier levy because people would just rasie the price of their house due to the slow housing mkt.

Raider 8 years, 10 months ago

Just remember folks... y'all all voted for these jokers. It's been proven many times over that the SB for 497 is a bunch of greedy *&!@%^#. Nearly every one of them that were elected this last time stated in an online LJW chat that they would do whatever neccessary to maintain their budgets, and this included raising taxes. Are any of you really surprised this happened?

Whatever happened to the last tax increase that went to a "public vote" and only passed by maybe 50 votes? That was supposed to go to increase teacher salaries. Has that happened yet? I still find it odd that right after that 'vote' the new athletic facilities were approved.

USD 497 is the greediest SB is the state.

ksb 8 years, 10 months ago

Raider, two of the three new school board members voted against the increase from 6 to 8 mills last night, as stated in the story.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Think of all new items on top of our existing tax load = nickle dimed to bankruptcy

Think - $20 million athletic project

Think What is waiting to be fixed that cost another $20 million?

The city is announcing tax increases:

The 1505 acre Clinton Lake Regional Park is a tax increase because it is a new item on the budget. The one cent sales tax could have been used to rehabilitate sidewalks INSTEAD of doing additional new tax dollar items that expand our tax bills

Tax increases/tax bill expansion on the table $88 million sewage treatment plant 31st street expansion West side rec center NEW water lines to airport Increased water,sewer and trash rates constant replacement of traffic lights($50,000 each) NEW housing developments NEW retail developments in a flooded market *$250-$300 million trafficway

All of the above plus our existing tax dollar demands.

When we hear it's only so much per every $100,000 home value we must ask ourselves how many times have we heard this in the past 25 years?

How many times have taxpayers been invited to make the tax increase choices by voting for them?

How many times have taxpayers had the opportunity to vote on new tax dollars increasing projects such as new housing developments,$20 million USD 497 projects,$20 million park projects,$88 million sewage treatment project or a 31st street expansion?

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 10 months ago

For all the pathetic whining and moaning going on here, some of the writers here should pull their heads out of their a** and read what is actually happening in other districts in the state. The Lawrence district increase is minor compared to many of these. And I think it was a good signal for them to take the capital mill levy back to 6.

The financial pressures will do nothing but go up for the next two years, however.

Merrill: get a clue.

Katara 8 years, 10 months ago

“It makes us nervous, but it is manageable,” said Superintendent Rick Doll. “We do understand the climate that we’re in.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ No, no you don't.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

















Shelley Bock 8 years, 10 months ago

Marion says..."Wait until the school district starts having to maintain all that brand-new shiny Astroturf when it ain't so brand-new and shiny."

It's great seeing you dumping on the fields again, Now you're going at the surface material. Why don't you tell us again about how there aren't going to be any night games on these fields like you did earlier this year when the school board-community agreement was reached? You weren't right then and the installed lights on all fields prove it now!

You've never, ever retracted that false comment. Can't believe your criticism today, totally worthless.

Guess you take the position to never admit a mistake. That makes you very "credible", Really?

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