Archive for Wednesday, July 10, 2002

School tax levy drops by 3 mills

July 10, 2002

Unless the Tonganoxie school district sees a large enrollment increase, the general fund budget will remain at about $7,125,000 the same as for the 2001-2002 school year.

However, the district's published budget will show an inflated general fund budget of nearly $8.2 million, according to Superintendent Richard Erickson.

"We inflate the budget because of the fact that we want to take full advantage of any state aid available to the school district," the superintendent said. "If we should have a significant increase in enrollment, we don't want to go back and republish the budget."

And Erickson said the general fund budget also includes for the first time special education state aid funds. The Kansas Legislature this year, Erickson said, approved the funneling of special education dollars through school districts' general fund budgets. In Tonganoxie, this means a $650,000 addition to the general fund budget.

This funneling of special education state aid funds through the general fund budget lets school districts tap into additional funding when calculating the local option budget.

The LOB, which is a locally assessed tax, can total a maximum of 25 percent of the district's general fund budget.

This year the district's LOB rate is set at 21.2 percent, which will generate about $1,654,000.

Last year the state paid 39 percent of Tonganoxie's LOB, and this year, the state's portion will increase to 41 percent.

And, Erickson said he was pleased that overall, the district's mill levy is decreasing by 3.18 mills.

A mill is $1 in property taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.

The local mill level decrease is due to two factors: the district's increased property valuation and an expected $20-per-pupil increase in state aid.

Another boost to the school district is its year-ending balances in various funds, Erickson noted.

"We're up in almost every column," Erickson told school board members Monday night. "In a year that we're struggling state-funding wise, it sure helps to have those balances."

The district's total unencumbered cash balances, as of June 30, were $998,850, up $160,179 from the previous year.

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