Board discusses possible future mill increase
The Tonganoxie School District is looking at approving the authority to levy up to 8 mills in the capital outlay fund over the next five years.
Superintendent Richard Erickson told the board at a special meeting Monday that he favors the authority increase, from 4 mills to 8. He said that doesn’t mean the district would need to increase to 8, but it would give the district flexibility.
Every five years, a school district must determine the maximum number of mills it can levy for the capital outlay fund for those five years.
For several years, Erickson said, the district has stayed at 4 mills, that some districts are going as high as 8.
Erickson favors increasing the mills because, beginning in 2009-10, the district no longer will receive its annual $500,000 in state aid for school improvements. The aid was for construction of the new middle school and renovations to the elementary and high schools, which were constructed in 2006 and 2007 after a November 2004 bond issue passed. In addition, with all-day, everyday kindergarten, new teaching positions, block scheduling and maintenance for the district’s expanded campuses, Erickson said the increase would address those elements.
Assistant superintendent Kyle Hayden said he didn’t favor making a 4-mill increase in one year.
“I don’t think it would be in the district’s best interest to jump from 4 to 8 in a year,” Hayden said. “A lot’s going to change in Tonganoxie in five years.”
Hayden said when he was superintendent at Ellis, the district increased its mill levy in that area from 6 to 8 mills.
“It wasn’t a problem,” said Hayden, when asked by board member Kathy Baragary how it was received.
Fellow board member Mildred McMillon said the district, which she said was one of the best school districts, keeps the value of people’s homes.
“But 8 mills is hitting taxpayers pretty heavy,” McMillon said. “I know you don’t need to use it all at one time.”
The state also matches 25 percent for every dollar the district receives in capital outlay, Erickson said Tuesday.
The board moved to discuss the item further at the next regular meeting, set for 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Tonganoxie Middle School library.
In other business, the board:
• Discussed board policy. The board is looking into having the Kansas Association of School Boards conduct an audit of its board policy, which runs, at the most, about $8,500. The board also discussed its board goals. During the course of discussions, board member Kay Smith said the district needed to be better at crisis planning also. The items will be discussed further at the regular October board meeting.
• Met in executive session to discuss personnel matters. When the board returned to the library, it approved the hires of: Kim Woodall, TMS eighth-grade language arts instructor; Chris Reynolds, teacher at TMS and yearbook sponsor; Kathy Harrell and Debbie Holloway, co-sponsors for TMS student council. The board also approved the resignation of Linda Bingham in the TES food service department.