Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2003

School officials keeping a sharp eye on expenses

August 7, 2003

This year's budget won't be severely impacted by a shift in the state's payment schedule to Kansas school districts. But, Basehor-Linwood School District officials are keeping a sharp eye on the situation nonetheless.

During a meeting Monday, Aug. 4, school board members discussed the 2003-2004 budget (see related story, page 1A) including the possible effects the state's change in payment schedule could have on the school district.

Approximately 60 percent of the funds the Basehor-Linwood School District receives are from the state, or $3,863 per student. The rest of the money comes from federal funds (1 percent) and local taxes and fees (32 percent).

This year, the state will make its largest payments to school districts in July (40 percent) and January (50 percent) for the 2003-2004 school year. Smaller payments, between 2 and 3 percent, are made in September, October, March and May.

However, beginning next school year, 2004-2005, the state will deviate from its previous payment schedule to making the bulk of its payouts to school districts in January (50 percent) and June (40 percent).

The state, facing a shortfall of approximately $800 million, is using accounting tricks to help balance its budget, school officials said.

Until those large payments are made, the school district must fund salaries and expenses with the smaller revenue amounts in September (4 percent), October (3 percent) and March (3 percent).

The lion's share of education funding is spent on teacher salaries and employee benefits. In Basehor-Linwood, the monthly payroll is between $500,000 and $600,000, school officials said.

"We will have to be thoughtful in how we spend our resources," superintendent Jill Hackett said.

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