While the Kansas State Department of Education anxiously awaits approval from the Kansas Supreme Court on the proposed financial formula, the USD 443 board members authorized the publishing of the 2017-2018 school year budget at the meeting on Monday.

“We had a budget workshop today with a budget that has not yet been finalized,” said USD 443 executive director of business and operations, Bill Hammond. “They’re really not sure what it’s going to be because the supreme court hasn’t ruled yet.”

Hammond explained that there are some districts that are waiting to form a budget until the supreme court approves the budget.

“I didn’t think you wanted an extra meeting,” said Hammond. “With that being said, I want to ask your authority this evening to publish the budget after we get the final budget information.”

Hammond promised the board members that he will do his best to assure that the budget is published in time for the hearing and approval on Aug. 14. Hammond then went into detail on the budget, explaining that there will be no increase in the mill levy.

“There will probably be some decrease in bond and interest and some increase in all the funding,” he said. “As far as the mill levy, it will stay the way it is.”

Hammond then explained what the supreme court’s position is on the matter.

“The feeling that I’m hearing is that the court will not shutdown schools,” he said. “There’s also a given feeling that the legislature did not go far enough when you look at what the previous approved has instated for people, and where we are today. How you reconcile those two things I think is anybody’s guess.”

Hammond then clarified what the proposed budget would consist of.

“There will 20 mills for the general fund, that is the state stature,” he said. “The maximum amount you can have for capital outlet is eight mills, but on the rest of the budgets, we set the dollar amount and the county clerk will adjust our mill money up or down depending on the final evaluation, becuase we are basically doing an entire budget on an estimated amount.”

Board member Jeff Hiers then asked Hammond if the USD 443 would be in good shape if the supreme court approves the budget.

“My sense is that we won’t end up in any worse shape,” said Hammond. “There are five or six items that our attorneys didn’t even put in their brief with the supreme court because they literally ran out of paper to write them down on. The court will limit how many pages they can write, so they basically addressed the same issues.”

Superintendent Fred Diersken added that he and Hammond will be in attendance of the upcoming court case.

All board members approved the publishing of the proposed USD 443 2017-2018 budget.

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