Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2007

School district plan would shave 1.09 mills

July 12, 2007

Lansing school district officials are proposing a budget for the 2007-2008 year that would lower the property tax levy by 1.09 mills.

The district on Monday unveiled a proposed levy of 49.16 mills to fund schools for the upcoming year, down from this year's 50.25 mills.

If the budget ultimately is approved as presented, the owner of a house valued at $100,000 would pay about $565 in property taxes to fund local schools. That's down about 2 percent from last year's property tax bill of $578 on a $100,000 house.

A mill is equal to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in property valuation.

Total expenditures would increase to $26.13 million from last year's total of $22 million under the proposed budget, which was presented to board members at their meeting Monday. Superintendent Randal Bagby said the $4.13 million increase could be attributed to several issues.

First, was the fact that the district has seen the slight increase in student enrollment, which ties into another factor involving the Kansas' court systems recent involvement with Legislature in school funding. State aid per pupil has increased in the past few years and Bagby said even more could be expected next year.

Another factor contributing to the increase was the board's annual overestimation of the capital outlay fund. Bagby explained that for the past three years the district has consistently spent about $300,000 of the fund but budgets about $2 million anyway.

Because the board only has the authority to spend the amount in the fund that is budgeted at the beginning of the year, Bagby said it is set "extremely high" to act as a safety net. All the unused funds are carried over to the next year.

Despite increases almost across the board, bond payments for projects such as the middle school, construction of the new elementary school and the high school auditorium was decreased $30,000 to $2,184,180 for the next school year.

Board member Robert Nicholas said he was glad to see that number decrease and show that the board was upholding its promise to the community. He said he could remember knocking on several doors asking for support of the bond, promising the levy to repay the bonds would never be over 3.4 mills.

Bagby said that this year's budget was "pretty clean." He said in past years the court system has tied up in legislation, but this year the district knew what to expect earlier.

His biggest worry while going over the budget was the rising fuel costs. Because the district pays for the fuel used by the bus system, Bagby said he knew the high cost was going to take a big chunk of the budget. Despite that, he said the district was able to shift other items and make it work.

The board scheduled the public hearing on the 2007-2008 budget for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13 in the music room of Lansing Middle School, 509 W. Ida.

In other business Monday, the board:

¢ Welcomed two new members, Richard Hauver and Richard O'Donnell.

¢ Elected Shelly Gowdy as board president and Beth Stevenson as vice president.

¢ Approved a request to add a new music appreciation course to the Lansing High School curriculum. Bagby said the class would give students another option to receive their fine arts credit that is required for graduation.

¢ Approved a contract with the law firm Stevens & Brand L.L.P. The fee of $110 an hour will be the same it was last year.

¢ Approved a contract with Deffenbaugh Disposal Services. The contract contained a 6 percent increase from last year, which Bagby said was due to rising fuel costs and was expected.

¢ Approved a bid from Schendel Service Inc. for pest control. It will be the same rate as last year of $2,581.20 plus as extra service cost per man-hour of $50.

¢ Accepted a $500 donation from Commerce Bancshares Foundations.

¢ Approved the resignation of Melissa Chappel, high school physical education teacher.

¢ Approved the recommendation of Robert Parsons as the high school computer/multimedia teacher.


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