Archive for Thursday, July 10, 2003

State fiscal dodge affects USD 232 budget planning

July 10, 2003

The De Soto USD 232 Board of Education is seeking additional mill levy support for its capital outlay fund as a result of a Kansas Legislature accounting dodge.
District business manager Ken Larsen presented the Board with a resolution that would give the district the authority to raise the capital outlay fund's levy to 7 mills.
The move was necessitated after the Kansas Legislature chose to balance its 2002-2003 fiscal budget by delaying a June revenue disbursement to school districts until July 1, the beginning of the state's new fiscal year, Larsen said.
The late disbursement would give districts, including De Soto, three revenue disbursements during the 2003-2004 school year. That move will pump more dollars into the district's local option budget, and therefore lower the mill levy the district needed to support it.
Larsen said keeping the mill levy stable was not only important for recouping funds for the school district but also to maintain the confidence of local taxpayers.
"Taxpayers become uncomfortable when they see it (the mill levy) going up and down." Larsen said. "Our goal is to keep the mill levy steady so patrons know what kind of tax burden they will carry."
To maintain a stable mill levy, the Board approved a resolution that would increase the district's maximum mill levy authority for its capital outlay fund from 4 to 7 mills. The resolution would run concurrently with one the Board approved in October 2000, which extended the 4-mill authority for the capital outlay fund for five years.
The fund's revenues can be used for equipment purchases and for limited construction and remodeling projects. The resolution is subject to a protest petition. Should a petition gain 10 percent of the district's voters, the extension would have to be approved in a district-wide referendum.
Superintendent Sharon Zoellner said the district should just need the added authority for the coming school year. In 2004-2005, there would be no added disbursement, meaning the mill levy support for the local operating budget would spike again.

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