The Manhattan-Ogden school district projects that the bond and interest property tax rate would increase around 73% for the 2019-20 school year.
Lew Faust, director of business services, told the Manhattan-Ogden school board Wednesday that he projects a 7.8-mill increase in the district’s bond and interest property tax rate to approximately 18 mills. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed, taxable property value.
Solely considering the projected bond and interest increase, the property tax rate would go from 56.79 mills to 64.59 mills. Faust said the increase is related to the upcoming bond projects.
Based on a 0.4% increase in the average value of a Riley County home, a homeowner paying $607.09 in school taxes for a $100,000 home in 2019 would pay $699.76 for a $100,400 home in 2020. That’s an increase of $92.67 or 15.26%.
However, the board could find other ways to lower the overall property tax rate.
With USD 383’s fiscal year wrapping up Friday, the school board on Wednesday started its budget process for the 2019-20 school year.
Faust said state funding should increase by $2.92 million with a corresponding increase in local option budget funding of $226,000 for a total of $3.15 million in higher budget authority next year.
The increased state funding stems from an increase of state base aid per pupil to $4,436. That’s the highest amount the state has ever allocated per student, but it’s still not yet on track with what state funding would have been had it continued to increase at the level of inflation since its last peak in 2009.
After the decade-long Gannon lawsuit on whether state education funding was constitutionally adequate, state legislators have worked on bringing funding up to a level acceptable by the Kansas Supreme Court. Earlier this month, the court found that the state is making adequate progress on bringing funding up to constitutional levels but kept jurisdiction over the case to ensure that progress continues.
Faust added a disclaimer that his figures are preliminary estimates, and he will not have precise budget figures for the school board until the state is expected to release its school budgeting software on July 8.
With the bump in state funding, Faust said district officials will do what they can to keep the property tax rate for the school’s general funding as flat as possible.
The school board will continue its budgeting process at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Robinson Education Center, 2031 Poyntz Ave. It will receive a budget development information report.
After the state releases its software, Faust said the budget might be ready for board review by its meeting on July 17. The entire budget process should conclude in August with budget publication in early August and a public hearing and adoption on Aug. 21.
In other business, the school board transferred $1.91 million in remaining general funds and $982,000 in remaining supplemental general funds to the district’s special education fund ($1 million), capital outlay ($550,000), contingency ($950,000), textbook rental ($200,000) and professional development ($100,000).
Superintendent Marvin Wade presented on the district’s progress on developing a district-wide curriculum that incorporates “personalized learning.”
He said staff and community members have been eager to bring that to the district, and school officials are working on creating a framework for implementing personalized learning, which focuses on the needs of individual students, in the next couple of years.
The board granted Wade’s request for $17,355 to work with the Institute of Personalized Learning over the next year to train staff on the concept.
The board also approved $22,000 for classroom furniture and supplies for Eugene Field Early Learning Center, $84,000 for new library shelving and chairs at Eisenhower and Anthony middle schools, $99,000 for asphalt parking lot repairs at Eisenhower and Manhattan High School West Campus, and $11,000 for concrete parking lot repairs at Frank Bergman and Marlatt elementary schools.