Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

USD 491 predicts 1 mill increase in budget

August 18, 2005

As the Kansas Legislature struggled to come to a compromise on school funding this summer, Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Marty Kobza constantly heard the phrase "You can't help schools by throwing money at them."
As he presented the preliminary budget for the district to the Eudora board of education Thursday, he kept this in mind along with his response to legislators, " does have an impact if it's spent the right way."
With that thought offered to the board, Kobza presented a budget for the 2005-2006 academic year that is predicted to have a 1-mill increase.
If it happens as planned, it would raise the district's taxing authority from a total of 65.466 mills last year up to 66.582 mills this year.
Although the amount the district can spend will be set in the preliminary budget, the actual mill rate will be solidified when the county clerk releases its accounting information in late September.
"Typically after that's all assessed and collected, that 1 mill might change -- it might be a little lower -- but for budget purposes we're looking at a 1-mill increase," Kobza said.
The increase came as the district also decided to raise the percentage of state matched funding in its local option budget from 25 to 27 percent. However, the mill rate needed to support the increase in the so-called LOB, which is a supplement to the district's general fund, actually decreased because of a higher property evaluation for the district.
The district's assessed value is determined by the value of two funds. The first, the assessed valuation of the general fund, is determined with a $20,000 tax break for each homeowner. This year the general fund's assessed valuation increased by $5 million from $40,893,479 last year to $45,557,491 this year.
The second valuation, which is comprised of all other funds, also increased by $5 million, from $45,757,161 last year to $50,706,302 this year.
Each affected the outcome of the LOB.
"Because we're a poor district, 50 percent of all LOB money comes from the state, rather than the citizens," Kobza said.
The increase in the overall mill rate stems from an increase in the taxing authority of the board's capital outlay budget. Consistent with a board resolution last July, the proposed budget would raise the mill rate for capital outlay from 4 to 8 mills.
However, the budget only proposes using 4 mills of the added capital outlay authority for the 2005-2006 school year. This would give the board a greater breadth of options when it comes to improving the district's infrastructure.
In all, the board set $15.3 million in the coming school year for total expenditures.
The mill rate needed to service the district's outstanding bond issues decreased this year. The proposed debt service is at about $1.7 million. That would put the total mill rate at 22.39 mills. Last year the debt servicing mill rate was at 24.137.
There will be a hearing for the budget at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the district office, 1002 Elm St.

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