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Archive for Tuesday, July 24, 2012

District budget slightly lowers mill levy

July 24, 2012

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The Lawrence school board on Monday voted to publish a budget for the upcoming school year with a slight decrease in property tax rates.

“We feel like we’re fortunate to be in good financial shape,” said Kyle Hayden, assistant superintendent for business and operations. “We’re also fortunate to present a budget where we’re not projecting a tax increase.”

The total mill levy that will be published in the newspaper will decrease by two-tenths of one mill from last year’s levy, to 59.263 mills. One mill is equivalent to $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $635.52 in school district property tax under the proposed levy, and the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $1,317.05.

District officials projected property values in the county to remain flat, while predicting enrollment to grow by about 73 students. The district will receive $3,838 per student from the state in the coming year, an increase of $58 from the previous year. District officials have previously said they want the approximately $1.4 million generated from that money to go toward teacher raises, though the teachers and the district are still in negotiations over salaries.

Once the budget has been published in the newspaper, district officials may adjust the budget downward but not upward.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at the school board’s meeting on the first floor of the district’s Educational Support and Distribution Center, 110 McDonald Drive.

Board members approved the publication of the budget with very little discussion. The budget will pay for items that the board has identified as priorities throughout the past year, said Rick Doll, superintendent, including decreasing class sizes and expanding all-day kindergarten into the last four elementary schools that do not already have it.

The district has kept its local option budget tax levy at the maximum level the state allows since he has been superintendent, Doll said, and published the budget at that same tax rate for next year.

Doll invited any member of the public with questions about the budget to call him or an individual school board member during the period before the public hearing. He also said any member of the public could show up at the meeting if they had additional concerns.

Comments

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

Before spending or asking for additional tax dollars to build or repair buildings USD 497 best wait until they know what exactly is transpiring in Topeka. Our buildings could be rehabilitated over a 3-4 year period on current property tax dollars which is a respectful approach.

How should the school district pay for a $16.5 million maintenance backlog in elementary schools? Pay as they go, slowly if needed received 61% of those that voted. Seems practical. http://www2.ljworld.com/polls/2007/oct/how_should_school_district_pay_20_million_maintena/

USD 497 taxpayers need to think of nurturing our teachers which has not been adequately addressed in some years. Some kind of a pay increase method may need to be a matter for consideration should the legislature open those doors.

Always let the voters decide how reckless or not we wish to be.

Don't forget USD has spent more than $20 million recently. USD 497 tax dollars for the ill conceived sports project. That $20 million couldn’t have been spent at a worst time. This $20 million would have repaired our taxpayer owned properties in addition to removing some portable buildings.

Voters and taxpayers are the primary stakeholders no matter what. That's right without we taxpayers there could be no tax dollar spending. USD 497 taxpayers do not condone the reckless decisions and spending of the past.

What makes we voting taxpayers the primary stakeholders in any new building/construction or rehab project? Each one of us spend thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars in this community without which USD 497 would be nothing. Yet we are cast aside under the facade that none of this is any of our business.

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