Archive for Thursday, April 10, 2014

Basehor-Linwood school district faces virtual school funding cuts with new legislation

April 10, 2014

— The Kansas Legislature's latest answer to school funding equity significantly impacts the Basehor-Linwood school district, including a potential $285,000 reduction in funding for the virtual school.

USD 458 Superintendent David Howard said Monday that the new legislation will not force the closure of the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School but may force the local Board of Education to consider some changes.

"The biggest change to virtual school funding is it will eliminate the virtual weighting from the calculation for the Local Option Budget," Howard said.

The potential loss of $285,000 in funding, Howard said, is based on the current number of students enrolled in the program for whom the district receives per-pupil aid.

"Some of this reduction can be minimized by additional capital outlay state aid that we will receive next year," Howard said.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate were considering more drastic cuts to statewide virtual school funding, about a 50 percent cut, but eventually lessened the cuts to about 25 percent.

The bill eliminates virtual school weighting and non-proficient at-risk weighting for calculating the Local Option Budget, which could result in a lower LOB amount in the future.

The Legislature simultaneously approved the decision to allow districts to increase their LOB percentage from 30 percent up to 33 percent, if the increase is approved by patrons utilizing a mail ballot election.

"This will be a decision for the Board of Education in the future," Howard said. "We won't be asking our patrons for any increase in the LOB for next year."

The new school funding bill is still pending a signature from Gov. Sam Brownback to make it law, although Brownback has voiced his support of the bill, saying that it exceeds the mandates of the Supreme Court ruling.

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