To the editor:

In answer to a specific question, the friendly Unified School District 453 administration people referred me to www.usd453.org which has an abundance of information easier to use than the other websites for their 2017-18 budget year. Similar figures may be found at Kansas State Department of Education website, www.ksde.org, and even more information is at www.KansasOpenGov.org

Figures may be boring but look for the pots of gold at the end.

There are three categories of taxes for Kansas school districts which are federal, state and local. The state is actually Leavenworth County/USD 453 tax dollars. These are local dollars even though they are labeled state because the money comes from the local area, goes to the state and comes back to the local area via the state. If this seems convoluted, that’s because it is. Additional taxes such as local option budget do not go through the state.

The governor’s budget for the last fiscal year 2017 shows the function and the percent of each tax dollar expended from state general fund as follows: education, K-12 and higher, 62.8 percent; human services, 25.6; public, 6.3; general government, 4.9; transportation, 0.2; and agriculture and natural resources, 0.2.

USD 453’s source of revenue for 2017-18 as listed on KSDE’s website is as follows: state, $37,354,379; federal, $4,105,201; and local, $9,728,113; totaling $51,187,693. Revenue per pupil is $14,070, up from $13,392 last year. However, page 4 of USD 453’s proposed budget at a glance listed $14,557 per pupil, up from $13,046 last year.

On www.KansasOpenGov.org there is good news about money in school districts statewide. If federal funds were included, the state carryover cash would exceed $2 billion as of July 1, 2017. There are three pots of money: capital reserves, $492,088,292; debt reserves, $554,586,802; and all other cash, $928,052,210.

Capital reserves come with restrictions and must be used for capital projects. Debt reserves money is in the bank and can be used only for servicing debt payments. All other cash can be used for whatever the board in each school district decides.

USD 453’s portion of the good news shows that our pots hold the following dollars: capital, $7,020,344; debt, $7,123,031; and all other cash, $6,941,872. In the previous year USD 453 had $7.1 million and now has $6.9 million in their pot of carryover cash reserves.

My next and last tax letter will show main places where USD 453 funds are used.