De Soto School Board balks at tax breaks for TIF district
De Soto USD 232 Board of Education is protesting Shawnee’s second tax increment financing district, a third of which falls within the school district’s boundary.
The City of Shawnee approved the district on June 8, although no developments are currently planned for the area on the west side of Interstate 435 between Shawnee Mission Parkway and Johnson Drive.
The Board of Education had 30 days from the time the TIF district was set up to protest its creation. Board members in a 5-0 vote agreed to protest the TIF district at their meeting Monday.
In a letter to the board, Jack Deyoe, USD 232 director of operations, said a portion of the 2009 USD 232 legislative platform addresses developments that would delay taxes to the school district.
“In this case, throughout the pre-development and 20 years into the development USD 232 will continue to get its current property taxes from the land, which is currently agricultural pastureland,” the letter said.
By objecting to the TIF, the land that falls within the USD 232 district is removed from the TIF.
Board member Bill Fletcher said the board didn’t want to stop development, but the school district would like a piece of the action.
Creation of the TIF district allows developers to keep taxes generated from improvements to the property to help pay for public improvements, such as streets and sewers, to the development. Shawnee and other tax entities, in this case Johnson County, USD 232 and Shawnee Mission USD 512, would keep taxes generated from the property’s pre-development value.
Fletcher proposed the board object to the TIF and negotiate a fee, saying the district deserved more than what was being offered.
“The city will reap from the developments on this area,” he said.
In other action the board:
• Selected Horst, Terrill, and Karst to provide architectural services for the expansion of De Soto High School. HTK is currently the firm in charge of the district’s seventh elementary school.
• Approved building package bids totaling $10.89 million for the new elementary school. The package included two alternates for two additional classrooms and demountable partitions between classrooms. The total hard construction cost for the school is $13.6 million, including the site bid amount and general conditions and construction management fees, which were previously approved. The bond budget was set at $16.2 million for the project.
• Approved building package bids totaling $12.5 million for the expansion to Mill Valley High School. The bid included an alternate for an events lobby. The total hard construction cost for the expansion was $15.4 million, including the summer work bid amount and general conditions and construction management fee. The bond budget for the project was $16 million.
• Selected Tim Blankenship as board president for the 2009-2010 school year. Blankenship was selected in a 5-0 vote. The board selected Tammy Thomas in a 5-0 vote to serve as vice president.
• Adopted Kansas Association of School Board Policy revisions.
• Accepted a fee agreement with Lathrop & Gage for law services provided to the district. The agreement changed fees from 73 percent of the firm’s hourly rate to 78 percent of the hourly rate. In accepting the agreement, however, the board directed interim superintendent Ron Wimmer to seek other offers for legal services.