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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Skyline explores funding options

  • Pending legislation offers new choices
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  • An effort to increase Skyline’s Local Option Budget from 30 percent to 33 percent will generate an additional $87,000 to cover operating expenses. This is one of two big funding items facing USD 438.
    The district has to jump through several hoops over a one-year period in order get the total three percent LOB increase, said Skyline Superintendent Mike Sanders at the monthly Board of Education meeting Monday night.
    Until recent changes in state funding, Kansas schools were limited to using 30 percent of their general fund for Local Option Budget. The LOB is used to pay for operating expenses such as electric bills, school supplies, fuel and so on.
    However, recent legislation now allows schools to increase their LOB to 33 percent but it requires several steps to get there.
    The first step is moving the current 30 percent to 31 percent with a special election that will be held June 10. It will be the only item on the ballot.
    The school district will have to pay the county $2,000 to hold the special election, Sanders said.
    If the increase is approved, the amount can be increased again from 31 percent to 33 percent with a resolution from the Board of Education in July.
    In July 2015 and the voters would have to approve or reject making the 33 percent permanent.
    Every year the LOB has a carryover that schools were not allowed to touch. Skyline had $55,000 in carryover for four years for a total of untouchable $220,000. The new legislation allows schools to tap into the carry over.
    “The legislators have given us a different set of rules to go get this,” Sanders said. “I hope people will support us on June 10.
    The extra three percent LOB is expected to raise an additional $87,000. That amount would be considered part of the $220,000 carryover and it would be available for the district to use for operating expenses.
    Part of those operating expenses includes a $34,000 increase in payment to South Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative.
    The district is also working on another funding issue to help pay for a very expensive unexpected breakdown. The HVAC control system for heating and air conditioning has crashed and is not working. The control system needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
    “We are running the system manually,” Sanders said.
    Funds to pay for repairs of this kind come out of capital outlay. But capital outlay doesn’t have enough money to pay for this size job.
    So the district is considering taking out a Qualified Zone Academy Bond against three years of capital outlay, Sanders said.
    The bond would bring in $300,000, $285,00 after the bonding company, George K. Baum and Company, takes their $15,000 fee. The district also has to pay interest on the bond and that payment goes to the state treasurer.
    Page 2 of 2 - If the Board votes for the bond, it would mean that the district would have no additional capital outlay funds for three years for other projects like new carpet, roof repair and so on.
    Right now it is unknown how much it will take to replace the HVAC controls. The highest bid is $167,000 but other bids are being considered. Whatever it takes to replace the controls, any money left over will go towards capital outlay projects.
    Since the district would not get any more additional capital outlay funds for three years, the district would like to pass a resolution to increase their mil levy by 3.5 mils.
    But this does not mean an increase in taxes for the taxpayer.
    The Legislature has voted in tax relief that would lower the district mil levy 3.5 mils. By increasing the mil levy 3.5 mils it would put the mil levy at the same level and be a wash for the taxpayer with no tax increase, Sanders said.
    Both the increase in the LOB and the bond issue would have almost no impact on the taxpayer. Sanders calculates it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional 97 cents a month or about the cost of a large pizza.
    In other Board action, the last day of school has been moved to Wednesday, May 14. On the original last day, Thursday, May 15, the district has a high school and middle school track meet at South Barber that would have taken many students out of class as well as teachers and would have required the district to hire substitutes to cover those positions.
    Since the district still has three snow days to give and to save money, the decision was made to move the last day to May 14.
    The District was the victim of theft of 750 gallons of diesel fuel. Someone gained access to the District diesel tanks, broke through the lid and suctioned out the diesel.
    A review of security video did not provide information to the identity of the thief.

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