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Archive for Tuesday, July 21, 2009

District to get $1.6M more aid

Due to high enrollment at Lawrence Virtual School, the Lawrence school board is getting a budget boost.

July 21, 2009

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School board avoids cuts

The Lawrence school board was able to avoid making cuts thanks to some extra money. Enlarge video

While Lawrence Virtual School students might not be present in the classroom, they were a big help to the Lawrence school district when it came to settling on a 2009-2010 budget.

The district will get another $1.6 million thanks to a quirk in the school finance formula. The district is able to average the last three years of enrollment to set its full-time equivalency. That number is higher thanks to one year where LVS students were included in the head count with brick-and-mortar kids.

“We actually get to count our virtual kids in a way that actually adds a little more money to the budget for this year,” Superintendent Rick Doll said.

That means the district will get more base state aid than officials originally thought. It also means no more cuts — for now.

“We now have this one-time budget authority that’s going to let us put that off just a little bit,” said Kathy Johnson, finance division director. “This three-year average is only going to have a one-year impact. It’s not something we can plan on for ongoing costs, but it helps us with this budget cut we got midway.”

LVS students were counted in the 2007-2008 district enrollment numbers before the state moved them to a separately counted group with a weighted full-time equivalency. Enrollment that year for the district was 10,208. For this past school year, full-time equivalency was 9,349 students. The three-year average is 9,674 students.

But chief operations officer Frank Harwood warned that if the money is spent, cuts will come eventually.

“(The money has) made it so we didn’t have to make those cuts this year, but if nothing changes, we will have to make them next year,” Harwood said.

So the district is being careful, implementing a rolling hiring freeze and only releasing half of the schools’ instructional budgets and half of its professional development budgets at the start of the school year.

The district is also getting some state equalization aid this year, something that Johnson said the district hadn’t gotten in many, many years. This means the district won’t have to raise its mill levy like it originally thought.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed valuation. That valuation has gone down a little bit as property values have declined.

A budget hearing is planned for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 10 at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive, followed by a budget approval at 7 p.m.

Comments

Paul R Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

Good news in tough times. Lawrence, like many college towns, is not growing in student enrollment. Much of the recent growth has been virtual students. Meanwhile, we must wait to elect people who will fulfill their constitutional duty and raise taxes to fund schools and social services. It's going to be a bumpy ride, folks!

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kugrad 4 years, 9 months ago

Paytoride will not come back from these one-time funds, nor should it.

Good post KSManimal

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KSManimal 4 years, 9 months ago

No, pay to ride isn't coming back.

Don't you folks get it? TOPEKA - your elected legislature, along with our new governor, have made serious cuts to public school funding in order to balance the budget. Our local BOE is doing only what they're forced to do...as local BOE's must also have balanced budgets.

This additional money does NOT mean that those cuts already made are going away. What it means is that those proposed cuts that were needed to deal with our governor's 2% cut to education funding will not, in fact, need to be made by USD 497. Other districts will still need 2% more in cuts to balance their budgets.

Further, this "additional" money is NOT permanent. It is only for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Meaning, if additional funds aren't forthcoming in the next legislative session, those proposed cuts that we avoided this year will need to happen next year.

It looks to me like people don't really READ the news, or pay it much attention, but rather just use the headline as a starting point to spout their ignorant self-righteous opinions; opinions that are already in place and will never change, facts notwithstanding.

If that isn't proof we need more resources for our schools, I don't know what is.

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Kujay1966 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes,

They need to consider bringing back the PayRide program. The school board will think hard again if our kids start getting hurt. They need to give parents the option to pay for kids to ride the bus, and not just cut out the program.

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Lori Nation 4 years, 9 months ago

That's a thought. But with our greedy district I don't thank so, it will go towards something athletic instead of children's safety.

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em1 4 years, 9 months ago

Maybe PayRide can come back now. I'm not holding my breath about it though...

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