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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • School officials review budgetary challenges

  • A decrease in assessed valuation and an increased cost for things such as utilities may impact the Leavenworth school district's budget by several hundred thousand dollars next year.
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    • In other business:
      When they met Monday, Leavenworth school board members took the following action:

      They approved a staffing report. The report, which lists various personnel changes, includes the hiring of S...
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      In other business:
      When they met Monday, Leavenworth school board members took the following action:

      They approved a staffing report. The report, which lists various personnel changes, includes the hiring of Steve Yeoman. He will begin serving this summer as the new principal of David Brewer Elementary School. He has served as the principal of West Indianola Elementary School in the Topeka-Seaman district since 2009.

      They approved a bid from WTI in the amount of $91,522 for exterior insulation and finish system repair work at Richard W. Warren Middle School. The bid was approved in a motion that included three other items. The motion passed 5-2 with board members Mo Minchew and Nancy Klemp voting against it.

      They approved a bid from Windstream in the amount of $40,896 for internet service and a bid from AT&T in the amount of $37,624 for local telephone service. If approved for federal E-Rate funding, the district only will have to pay 26 percent of the cost for these services. Board members also approved an E-Rate application.
  • A decrease in assessed valuation and an increased cost for things such as utilities may impact the Leavenworth school district's budget by several hundred thousand dollars next year.
    That's according to district officials who provided a financial outlook Monday during a meeting of the Leavenworth Board of Education.
    According to Kevin Gullett, chief financial officer, and Beth Mattox, director of accounts and reports, the district could lose $250,000 because of a decrease in assessed valuation. That's based on a projected decrease of 2 percent in the assessed valuation in the district.
    Gullett said the district could raise the mill rate for the local option budget by 1.4 mills to make up for this loss.
    But Gullett and Mattox said the district also could be faced with increasing its contribution to the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative by $53,630 to make up for anticipated state cuts.
    They're also estimating the district may have to pay a 10 percent increase, or $47,500, for costs associated with workers compensation and another 10 percent increase, or $83,000, in utility expenses.
    Mattox said sequestration could result in the district losing $135,000 in federal funding next year.
    Gullett said the mill levy for the capital outlay fund is expected to generate $528,548 this school year. The district had an estimated $5 million in the fund at the beginning of the school year. And district officials expect to spend $1.7 million from the fund this year, ending with a balance of $3.3 million.
    Gullett said this means the district will be spending about $1.1 million more than what the fund received in revenue.
    The district currently levies 3 mills for the capital outlay fund. A total of 8 mills can be levied for that  fund.
    The total mill levy for the district currently is 66.163 mills.
    And looking at the 2014-2015 school year, Mattox said costs associated with the federal Affordable Care Act could cost the district an additional $1.08 million.
    "It has to do with making our health insurance plan affordable to our employees," she said. "And there's some cost with that."
    She said board members will receive more information during an insurance presentation March 25.
    Also Monday, board members approved payment of $21,574 for membership in Schools For Fair Funding, which has backed a lawsuit against the state government over school funding.
    A three-judge panel ordered the state to increase the base-per pupil funding. Gullett said the increase could result in the an additional $3.3 million for the district.
    The decision has been appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, which has ordered mediation.
    Board member Loyal Torkelson said he has been a big supporter of Schools For Funding in the past. But he questioned whether the district has benefited from its involvement in the group.
    "I don't know what they've accomplished," he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - He said the state Legislature has ignored previous court outcomes, and he said the public is getting tired of lawsuits.
    Superintendent Kelly Crane said the district benefited from an earlier court case that Schools For Fair Funding was involved in.
    Board Vice President Marti Crow said she believes "you ought to fight for fairness."
    Included in the payment to Schools For Funding is $11,707 for base member dues and $9,867 for an additional assessment for litigation support.
    The vote to approve the payment was 5-2 with Torkelson and board member Nancy Klemp voting against it.
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