Archive for Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Tonganoxie school board hears bleak budget message

June 13, 2001

Again this year, Tonganoxie's local option budget is keeping the school district afloat.

"We could not have functioned effectively the last four years without the board of education and the district patrons supporting the LOB," said Richard Erickson, superintendent of USD 464.

In the last four years, the intake from the local option budget, a local tax levy, has increased from $286,776 in 1997-1998 to a projected $1,436,900 for the 2001-2002 school year.

According to state laws, a district may levy an LOB tax of up to 25 percent of the general fund.

The district's first LOB was levied at 4.2 percent for the 1997-1998 school year. In 1998-1999, a 7 percent LOB added $486,216 to the district's coffers.

The next year, 1999-2000, the district increased the LOB to $16.74 percent, generating $1,145,451.

Again during the 2000-2001 school year, the LOB increased, this time to 21 percent, which brought in $1,435,900. Erickson estimated that the 2001-2002 LOB will increase to about 21 percent, bringing in $1,436,900.

At Monday night's board meeting, Erickson noted that the district's fund balances are down $250,000 from a year ago.

But that's not what worries him.

"What alarms me," Erickson said, "is the balance that we have in the general fund at the end of the year that we're able to transfer over to capital outlay."

A year ago, the district transferred 2 percent, or $136,753, from the general fund into capital outlay, which is used for school improvements.

"I don't see us having a great amount of money to transfer this year," Erickson said. "If we're able to transfer $50,000, I'll be happy."

In the general fund, expenses as of June 1 have been $5,518,440. A year ago, expenses in this fund were $5,451,231. The projected balance of the district's capital outlay fund is $305,650, down from last year's $505,000.

"We're up about $68,000 in the general fund so far this year," Erickson said. "About $53,000 of that was due to the increased heating expenses this year."

Costs paid out of this fund during the 2000-2001 school year have gone toward building renovations, tiling nine classrooms at the junior high, 12 classrooms at the elementary school, replacing heating and air conditioning units, sidewalk work and remodeling four classrooms at the elementary school to free up space for an additional fourth grade class.

Additionally, the district has made a $125,000 payment on the multipurpose facility.

In addition, Erickson said, the district will spend about $20,000 moving and installing two portable classrooms donated by the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Bonner Springs. Debbie Breuer, Tonganoxie, arranged for the buildings to be donated to the district.

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