|
|
|
|
The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • School Board mulls LOB election

  • Leavenworth School Board members considered last week calling for a special mail ballot election in June to seek an increase to the school district's Local Option Budget.
    • email print
      Comment
    • Story at a glance ...

      • The Leavenworth School Board recently discussed the possibility of a special election seeking voter approval for ...

      » Read more
      X
      Story at a glance ...

      • The Leavenworth School Board recently discussed the possibility of a special election seeking voter approval for an increase to the school district's Local Option Budget.



      • Raising the LOB would result in a property tax increase.



      • School Board members were divided on the issue.



      • Board members decided not to pursue the issue now, but they could revisit it in the future.

  • Leavenworth School Board members considered last week calling for a special mail ballot election in June to seek an increase to the school district's Local Option Budget.
    Board members appeared to be evenly divided on the issue, and they decided not to pursue the matter for now. 
    But, it was suggested they may revisit it in the future.
    Chief Financial Officer Kevin Gullett raised the issue when the School Board met Wednesday.
    "We just need to know if there's some interest," he said.
    The school district's LOB currently is capped at 30 percent of the district's general fund budget. The local option budget receives funding from state government and local property taxes.
    The law has allowed school districts to increase the LOB to 31 percent with voter approval.
    A new school finance law signed by Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday allows districts to increase their local option budgets to 33 percent, if voters approve.
    The law signed by the governor also will restore state aid payments designed to provide equalized funding for school districts. This funding, which was approved in response to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling, should decrease the Leavenworth district's mill levy for local property taxes by three to five mills for the 2014-15 school year.
    Gullett asked board members if they wanted to pursue a June 1 mail ballot election in order to increase the LOB to 31 percent for next school year.
    He said the increase would raise the LOB by $265,000 and result in a tax increase of 1 to 2 mills, which would be offset by the mill decrease that is expected to result from the new school finance law.
    Gullett said he raised the issue with the board after the Leavenworth National Education Association, a local teachers union, asked him to research the matter and include the results in a presentation to the board.
    He said the mail ballot election would cost the district about $20,000.
    Board member Doug Darling said there wouldn't be enough time to "socialize" the ballot question for voters before the June 1 election. He suggested the district could look at increasing the LOB for 2015-16 school year's budget.
    Board member Nancy Klemp asked if the district needed the additional $265,000.
    Gullett said the money could be used for pay raises or offset unforeseen increases in special education costs. But, Gullett said he believed the $1.2 million in reductions the district is making to the budget will meet the district's financial obligations for the next school year.
    Board member Mike Carney said he didn't have a problem with putting the issue before the voters and letting them decide.
    Page 2 of 2 - Board member Verna Raines said she understood the time crunch, but the special election was "worth trying."
    Board Vice President Marti Crow said she wouldn't oppose having the election but she has mixed feelings about the LOB.
    "The state ought to be funding the schools," she said.
    Darling said the board approved a 3-mill increase to the budget last summer and would now be asking voters to approve another increase.
    Board President Nancy Klemp and board member Paul Kittle said they were inclined not to go forward with a June mail ballot election.
    The seventh board member, Loyal Torkelson, was absent.
    "We'll just table that for another year," Gullett said.
    Darling suggested the board needs to look at the issue for the 2015-16 budget.

        calendar