Archive for Thursday, July 20, 2006

3-mill hike forecast for De Soto district

July 20, 2006

Although De Soto USD 232 is still waiting for the Kansas Supreme Court before it can really plan a budget, the district staff recommends a 3-mill increase in next year's budget.

District finance director Ken Larsen presented a mill levy recommendation to USD 232 Board of Education members Monday.

The mill levy can't be determined until after a court ruling that could change the method of funding for all Kansas schools, so any of the numbers could change in a few weeks, Larsen said.

After the court has made its decision, the staff will present board members with a more formal budget recommendation. The board will publish the proposed budget in the newspaper for two weeks and have a public hearing before approving the budget.

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 in assessed value. When the assessed valuation increases, the value of a mill increases. That means lowering the mill levy does not always mean lowering taxes. This year with an increase in the district's total assessed valuation, it will already have a built-in dollar increase if it keeps its mill levy the same.

The De Soto school district has seen its mill levy come down in the past 11 years even with the growth in the district thatrequires the building of new schools. Eleven years ago the total mill levy was 81.758. In 2005-2006, the mill levy was 69.115.

In 2006-2007, district staff is recommending an increase of 72.183 mills. The increases are in the bond indebtedness fund and an increase in the local option budget.

Each Kansas district levies an allowed maximum 20-mill levy for general fund revenue. That local money is sent to the state and distributed back to local districts as part of their per pupil general fund dollars.

In addition, districts may adopt mill levies for local option budgets, known as LOBs. In recent years, the state has limited LOBs to 25 percent of the revenue districts received in general fund dollars. In 2005, the Legislature allowed districts to increase that to 27 percent of the general fund for the 2005-2006 school year and increased it to 30 percent of the general fund for the 2006-2007 school year.

As it did last year, the Legislature permitted districts to raise LOBs without the action being subject to protest petitions.

With the allowed increase in its LOB, the district's LOB mill levy will increase from 16.696 to 18.878 mills. It will keep its capital outlay fund at about 4 mills and keep its special assessment fund at less than one mill.

The district also has a special extraordinary growth mill levy authority that will decrease from about 1.8 mills to 1.2 mills for the 2006-2007 school year.

The portion of the mill levy used to service the bond and interest indebtedness will increase to pay off the 2002 bond issue. District staff is recommending this fund change from 25.840 mills to 27.592 mills.

The staff forecasts the total mills will generate about $26.7 million, less than their allowed maximum of $28.2 million, Larsen said.

In 2005-2006, the district lowered its mill by about 4 mills.

In other action, the board:

  • Elected Don Clark president to replace Sandy Thierer with the official start of the school year in July. Janine Gracy will be the vice president.
  • Approved personnel recommendations, including the resignation of popular De Soto High School English teacher, Bryan Brutto. Brutto recently received his administrative degree and will take an administrative position in the Blue Valley school district.

Other changes include the hiring of employees Zach Browne, Rule 10 assistant football coach at De Soto High School; Adam Faircloth, Rule 10 seventh-grade assistant football coach at Lexington Trails Middle School; Nicole Payne, paraprofessional at Lexington Trails; and Donna Rhodes, English teacher at De Soto High School.

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