Tax levy hike takes shape

School district reviews options for covering fiscal 2014 projections

By Bryan Richardson

The USD 383 school board decided Wednesday to hold a special meeting July 24 to continue budget discussions.

Board members attempted to have a budget forum prior to Wednesday’s meeting to let the public speak, but nobody showed up.

For the upcoming fiscal year, USD 383 will need at least $804,795 beyond what it raised last year to pay for staffing additions and make up for the state funding reductions.

The number could increase to nearly $1.33 million, depending on whether the board decides to proceed with other budget requests and whether it approves a one percent increase in salaries and wages.

If the board decided to solely use tax increases to cover that, it would take 1.39 mills to meet the minimum figure and 2.3 mills to meet the maximum projection. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property value.

If the total property tax levy goes to 51.79 mills, that would result in a residential tax bill of $595.58 for $100,000 in property value, an increase of $15.98 from last year. For business, the impact would be $1,294.75 in taxes per $100,000 in assessed valuation, an increase of $34.75 from last year. Both calculations assume a 4.9 percent increase in valuation, which district officials said was average.

If the total mill levy goes to 52.7 mills, that would result in a $606.05 residential property tax bill per $100,000 in assessed valuation, an increase of $26.45 from last year. For a business, it would mean $1,317.50 in taxes per $100,000 in assessed valuation, an increase of $57.50 from last year. Again, the figures assume a 4.9 percent increase in valuation.

The board could also consider transferring funds from the district’s cash reserves to reduce the tax increase needed. It also has the option to change its capital outlay mill levy. The current capital outlay mill levy is 6 mills, but the maximum allowed by a local resolution is 7 mills.

The board will receive options for the district mill levies, projected tax impact, a draft of the district budget for discussion and discuss capital outlay projects during its next meeting July 24.

MHS East building analysis

After being presented the finalized analysis of Manhattan High East, the school board is likely to discuss the building’s future plans more in-depth during its fall retreat.

According to Gould Evans, the architecture firm in charge of the analysis, renovating the current school would cost between $12.48 million and $15.7 million. The estimate is that building a new school of the same size would cost between $32.8 million and $37.5 million.

To cut costs, the board in 2008 removed many renovation items at MHS East from the $97.5 million bond issue to renovate the district’s schools.

The firm assessed that the critical needs to be done in the near future are removing asbestos, roof repairs, relocating the special education classrooms, fixing water leaks and replacing the elevator.


Grant received

USD 383 received a $1.7 million grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Educational partnership, given to promote student achievement at districts impacted by military.

The grant will be used to fund “STEMing into College and Career Readiness” for students in grades 5-8. It is related to the ongoing efforts to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through avenues such as extended day learning, enhanced academic support and the STEM summer institute.

Of 15 districts receiving the grant, USD 383 is the only one in Kansas.

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