The USD 443 school board will seek to reduce the mill levy for the upcoming budget year if the school equity funding bill passed by the Legislature is also approved by Gov. Sam Brownback.
The question is how much lower will be asked by the board to Dodge City residents will be decided as the members will discuss how many mills will be given to the budget for capital outlay.
“The state has not fully funded LOB (local option budget supplemental general fund) legislation as well as capital outlay equalization for the last several years,” said William Hammond, the executive director of business and operations for the school system. “With the decision from the Kansas state supreme court, the legislature has funded SSHB2506 in both equalizations. This will allow the Board of Education to reduce the mill levy this year.”
The USD 443 valuation (more than $208.89 million) and general fund (more than $189.84 million) remain the same for the 2014-15 fiscal year as last year.
The total mill levy for the 2013-14 fiscal year was 60.616 (at around $1.2 million for every mill). Before the decision by the Kansas Supreme Court, it looked as if the levy would go up more than four mills to 64.756.
Instead the mill levy for Dodge City residents will be either 52.772 or 56.772 mills, depending on if the board decides to put four mills or eight mills on the capital outlay for the next fiscal year. The LOB mill levy for the budget will be cut from 30.789 mills to 18.805 mills.
More discussion will be made about the capital outlay and other budget items will take place at the next board meeting.
The board also voted 5-2 on first read to propose to change the late start days for children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade to one day a month to help teachers with planning the same lessons at the same time.
Almost 63 percent of parents in those grades liked the late start day schedule in a survey conducted by the school system with more than 2,200 parents answering questions about the system.
However, more than half of the 197 teachers in the pre-kindergarten through sixth grade classes felt the new format disrupted the daily routine for students (61.42 percent) or disrupted the routine for teachers and staff (51.78 percent).
Board member Ryan Ausmus voted against the proposal because he didn’t feel late starts are necessary, but to give teachers full in-service days to determine the curriculum, while Jeff Hiers voted against because he felt the late start days shouldn’t be changed.
The board will decide on the day at the next board meeting.