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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Lansing School Board action provides budgetary options

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  • The Lansing School Board discussed and unanimously approved a capitol outlay resolution June 9 that permits the board to introduce a new budget in the future with a property tax levy of potentially eight mills.  
    The approved resolution gives the board “continuous and permanent” authority to introduce a new budget calling for a tax levy raise.
    However, the board did not propose a new budget or proposal that would raise property taxes at this time.
    Superintendent Dr. Randall Bagby said the School Board had no intention of raising the levy now or in the near future. The resolution merely gives the board authority to pursue a levy increase through a new budget in the future, he said.
    The resolution was brought up because of a Kansas statute that went into effect May 1 allowing for funds raised through a tax levy increase to cover a wide range of school district expenses that previously were only covered within the general fund budget, potentially allowing the district to shift certain expenses from the general fund to funds from property tax levies.
    Specifically, the new allowances would permit expenses like custodial and maintenance salaries, computer software, repairs to vehicles, and band uniforms to be covered by capitol outlay rather than the general fund.
    Bagby encouraged School Board members to consider the resolution because of the funding struggles the school district faced after budget cuts in 2012, suggesting that passing “maximum authority” now would help protect against future funding issues.
    “My purpose is to put in eight mills in the resolution — the maximum authority — even if we don’t have an intention of using it this year, or even next year, but to protect against budget cuts,” the superintendent said.
    The School Board also discussed a proposal from Assistant Superintendent Dan Wessel to purchase an additional 600 iPads for the middle and high schools.
    The new purchases would add 300 devices each to the middle school and high school, raising the district count to a total of 2,000 iPads.
    “This will help us to get that technology into the hands of the students and teachers in the classroom as much as we possibly can,” Wessel said.
    In November, the School Board set a goal to increase student access to technology and to reach a 1:1 ratio between students and iPads.  The new acquisitions will let the district reach a 1:1 ratio in the middle school, but an addition of 250 iPads would be necessary to reach the ratio in the high school.
    Currently, the iPads available to students are checked out by teachers for a specific class, distributed to students, and then collected at the end of the period.
    Usage policies may change with the new acquisition in the middle school, perhaps allowing students to carry a machine with them during the day rather than checking one out for specific classes.  
    Page 2 of 2 - “The middle school is definitely searching and wanting for this to become a personal and not a shared device,” Wessel said.
    The School Board approved the $227,400 proposal.  
    Board members also unanimously approved the 2015 Child Nutrition and Wellness Program agreement, which makes the school district eligible to receive State Department of Education benefits available for funding student lunch, breakfast, milk, and snack programs.
    During July's meeting, the School Board plans to select new officers.

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