The Leavenworth School Board is proposing a property tax cut for the school district's 2014-15 budget.

The Leavenworth School Board is proposing a property tax cut for the school district's 2014-15 budget.

Board members authorized the publishing of the proposed budget during a special meeting Wednesday. The budget information that was published in the newspaper Thursday sets a public hearing for 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the district's administrative office, 200 N. Fourth St.

Board members won't be able to approve the budget until after they've concluded the public hearing.

While the budget has not yet been approved, its publication places an upper limit on taxes for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

"You're just approving the high water mark," Chief Financial Officer Kevin Gullett told board members Wednesday.

The proposed budget would decrease the district's mill levy by 6 mills. The mill levy is used in determining property taxes. A mill is $1 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value.

The proposed budget would reduce the district's mill levy from 69.3 mills to 63.3 mills.

"That's unprecedented," Gullet said of the reduction.

He said the main reason for the decrease is a Kansas Supreme Court decision and subsequent legislation that was passed earlier this year.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruling found state funding had failed to provide equity in public education in some areas. The resulting school finance law increased the amount the state contributes to Local Option Budgets and capital outlay funding for school districts.

The Leavenworth School District's proposed mill levy decrease would save the owner of a $150,000 home $103.50 per year.

"It's significant for homeowners and businesses," Gullett said of the tax reduction.

Gullett said the proposed budget includes $1.3 million in cuts that were identified during the last school year and pay raises. It also reflects the end of the district's involvement in the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative.

The Leavenworth school system used to be host district for the cooperative, an organization that has been dissolved.

Under the proposed 2014-15 budget, net expenditures for the district would decrease from $66.5 million in 2013-14 to $51.8 million in 2014-15.

Gullett said the dissolution of the cooperative is the reason for the dramatic change in expenditures. The budget for the cooperative previously was part of the host district's budget.

Board members had the special meeting Wednesday despite a power outage that affected the district's administrative office. Board members used flashlights and other temporary lighting during the meeting.

The power outage was caused by a strong storm that passed through the area.