School board moves forward with budget

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Leavenworth Board of Education Vice President Mike Powell and President Judi Price vote Monday during a meeting. Board members reviewed a proposed 2021-2022 budget during the work session.

Leavenworth Board of Education members are moving forward with a proposed $69.5 million budget for the 2021-2022 school year.

Board members have scheduled public hearings on the budget for Sept. 13. They will be able to approve the budget following the hearings.

Chief Financial Officer Beth Mattox reviewed the proposed budget with board members Monday during a work session.

During the meeting, board members authorized the publication of an official notice of the budget hearings in the newspaper. School officials plan for the official notice to appear in Friday's newspaper.

The notice will include information about the budget and set a ceiling for expenditures, Mattox said.

"We can spend less," she said. "We just couldn't spend more."

Information presented by Mattox shows net expenditures for the budget totaling $69.562 million.

Leavenworth Superintendent Mike Roth said proposed figures for expenditures are high. He said this reduces the chance the board will later have to republish the budget for exceeding anticipated expenses.

"Just because we budget $8 million," he said as an example, "doesn't mean we will spend $8 million."

In addition to a traditional budget hearing, the school board is required to have a public hearing regarding the budget exceeding what is considered a revenue neutral rate.

The revenue neutral rate hearing is required as a result of a new state law.

The revenue neutral rate reflects an amount equal to the revenue the school district received the previous year.

Local taxing entities use mills in calculating property taxes.

The proposed 2021-2022 budget for the Leavenworth public schools has an estimated total mill levy of 57.358 mills. This is a slight increase, in terms of mills, from the actual levy of 57.329 for the previous school year.

But even with a flat mill levy, the school district would exceed its revenue neutral rate because of an increase in property valuation.

Remaining revenue neutral for the 2021-2022 budget year would require a mill levy of 53.885 mills, Mattox said.

The school district levies property taxes for several different funds within its overall budget. One of these funds is the district's general fund.

Mattox noted that the district is required to levy 20 mills for the general fund.

"The school district does not have the option to lower that mill rate," she said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR