The Lawrence Board of Education will be asked to approve another contract with a consulting firm to get updated projections for enrollment in local schools.
The board meets at 7 p.m. Monday at the district administrative office, 110 McDonald Dr.
The proposed contract with RSP & Associates, Inc., would not exceed $27,500, but other details of the contract are not being released because they have been deemed proprietary and confidential. The Kansas Open Records Act allows government entities to withhold proprietary information.
The school district has contracted with RSP in the past, including last year when the firm’s report helped persuade district officials to scrap plans for closing or consolidating six elementary schools in east and central Lawrence.
RSP had projected that enrollment at those schools would grow over the next five years at more than twice the rate of other schools in the district. However, this year’s enrollment didn’t confirm that pattern, at least in the first year of the five-year projections.
RSP, based in Johnson County, specializes in demographic analysis for school districts. The information is used to plan for future staffing needs, attendance boundaries, facility use and other factors influenced by enrollment trends. The firm has worked previously for several school districts in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, according to information on the firm’s website.
The board will also receive an update on the district’s budget for the current year, based on the headcount taken Sept. 20.
School district budgets are based on a formula tied to enrollment. When the district adopted its budget in August, the numbers were based on expected enrollment for the coming year. The Sept. 20 headcount is used to calculate the actual amount sent to the district from the state. But even that number will be audited in the spring, which could result in the budget being adjusted again.
School districts in Kansas often don’t know their official, “final” budget until close to the end of the fiscal year.
According to the Kansas State Department of Education, Lawrence’s preliminary budget for this year includes $66.5 million in base state aid and about $23.3 million in supplemental funding through the district’s local option budget.
The budget also includes money for transportation, special education, bond and interest payments and a variety of other functions, adding up to a total budget of $141.2 million.
The budget adopted in August was based on expected enrollment of 9,815 full-time equivalent students. The Sept. 20 headcount, however, showed actual enrollment at 9,828.9 full-time equivalent students, an increase of 13.9 students. That’s not enough to make a substantial difference in the overall budget, but it does mean the district may have slightly more money to work with this year than expected.
In other business, the board will:
• consider he purchase of “Math Expressions” materials for grades K-5 in the amount of $156,425.
• receive an update on pre-bond planning activity.
• consider refinancing a portion of outstanding bonds that were issued in 2006.