Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

USD 232 mill levy increase proposed with new schools

July 19, 2007

As was hinted earlier this year, the property tax rate in the De Soto School District likely will increase this fiscal year with the opening of two new schools.

De Soto School Board members voted Monday to schedule a public hearing at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 on the 2007-08 proposed budget, which includes a 1.7 mill increase to the district's mill levy setting it at 71.409 mills. Formal action on the proposed $85 million budget will follow the hearing.

A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 in assessed valuation for residential property. For example, the owner of a $150,000 home will pay about $1,186 in taxes, or about $98 a month, with a levy of 71.409 mills.

In comparison the Shawnee Mission School District's mill levy is proposed to be 52.417 mills.

District budget and finance director Ken Larsen said he tried to address the board members' concerns about keeping the mill levy as low as possible while serving the needs of the district.

He also reminded board members of the June 4 meeting where the board voted 5-2 to raise half a mill of capital outlay funds for a 48-month lease of 500 laptops with an annual payment of $185,898. This will put a laptop in the hands of all teachers in the district.

The proposed budget also includes extraordinary growth fund levy of 6.167 mills. Earlier this year, the board authorized district officials to request the extra authority for that fund from the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals. Larsen said at that time the added authority, which was granted, was needed for an estimated $3.85 million in salaries and operational cost with the opening of Horizon Elementary and Mill Creek Middle School.

The added authority was granted for five years and will decline to 75 percent of the new authority in the third year, 50 percent in the fourth year and 25 percent in the final year.

The 6.167 mills proposed would provide about $2.4 million in revenue for the 2007-2008 school year.

That increase was offset partially by a decline in the debt service mill levy for past school bonds. That mill levy declined more than 4 mills from 25.35 in 2006-2007 to 21.078 for 2007-2008.

Larsen said the most important thing for taxpayers to understand regarding the 1.7 mill increase is the new schools that are opening in the fall.

"It takes this level of budget to support that," he said.

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