Archive for Thursday, August 6, 2009

Valuation hit forces proposed mill levy increase

August 6, 2009

Facing a 1.2 percent decrease in assessed valuation, Eudora USD 491 has proposed a 2009-2010 budget with a 1.98 mill increase.

The Eudora school board will have a public hearing on the budget at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Eudora Middle School Library.

The district’s assessed valuation for next school year is $706,533, or about 1.2 percent, less than it was in 2008-2009. Total valuation for fiscal year 2009 was $57.26 million, compared to $56.55 million for fiscal year 2010.

When voters approved the $45 million bond package in November 2007, it was projected the district’s valuation would grow 7 percent a year. However in its forecasts shared with the public at that time, the district projected a more conservative 5 percent annual valuation increase.

That growth went out the window with the current recession.

“This proposed budget is very much a product of the economic situation that we’re in locally,” Superintendent of Schools Don Grosdidier said. “Assessed valuation is going down and the growth that was projected isn’t happening. I think people understand that and hope that they understand that schools have taken a big hit at the state level, too.”

The mill levy in support of bond and interest would increase 2.28 mills in the proposed budget. The district would also increase its local option budget 2.87 mills.

The also is leveraging the LOB in order to receive more funding from the state.

A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

Partially offsetting the increases to the LOB and bond and indebtedness mill levies would be a decrease in the capital outlay fund of 3.2 mills.

Grosdidier said the district has the authority use 8 mills to support the capital outlay fund.

“We’re leaving a lot of revenue on the table to help the taxpayers,” said Grosdidier of the nearly $230,000 capital outlay budget authority the district will not use.

The district also made adjustments in light of $544,000 in cuts in state per pupil aid and capital outlay funding.

Those adjustments included $272,000 in salary reductions. Those savings were realized by eliminating or not filling positions and through the salary differences of outgoing and incoming teachers.

Furthermore, the district cut other miscellaneous expenditures by about $147,000.

The bloodletting might not end there. More cuts could be forthcoming from the state as it deals with its revenue shortfalls, as well as the fact that funding will decrease again in two years.

“It’s important that people understand that there is the potential for more cuts from the state,” Grosdidier said. “That’s why we’re being conservative from a spending standpoint to make sure we have enough to meet those cuts.

“We also have to look at what kind of a position we’re going to be in next year and, more importantly, the year after that because that’s when new facilities money and stimulus funds go away.”

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