February 10, 2016

School officials worried about future funding

Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
Superintendent Bill Gilhaus told USD 231 board members that a lack of funding may cause challenges for the district in the next year.
Gilhaus gave a presentation to the board during the Jan. 13 meeting. He outlined the district’s accomplishments, future goals and ended on the topic of dollars and cents, or rather, the lack of.
The superintendent identified funding as the main issue the board will have to address. Gilhaus stated that the health care reform act, beginning in 2015, will require the school district to offer insurance coverage to an additional 186 employees not currently eligible to enroll in the district program.
He explained that that increase in the number of employees to be covered, figured at the current premium rate of $4,493 per person, per year combined with any rate increases, will result in close to a $1 million dollar increase district healthcare costs.
A million dollars, Gilhaus said, they do not have.
“Obamacare is going to put it to us,” Board president Mark Grannell said.
Gilhaus said it is nice to offer health insurance and all people should have coverage, but it comes at a cost.
Rob Shippy, board member, asked how other school districts are handling the issue of funding, as they are in the same position as our district.  Gilhaus admitted that other districts are facing the same issues and making cuts where they can.
The superintendent told board members some districts, which he said he would identify, cleaned school buildings every other night rather than nightly to cut costs. Gilhaus said it is referred to it as “Trash and Dash.”
Gilhaus inquired with Jeremy McFadden, director of business and finance, as to any interaction with other districts in regards to funding. McFadden indicated there is a lot of silence and looking at each other during meetings with other districts.
“We have a dollar problem with a five cent solution,” McFadden said.
In other business board members:
• considered a proposed change to school policy related to the number of days students can miss school for college visits. Gilhaus proposed a  change that would increase the allowed visit days from two days to five per year. Initial response by board members to consider such a change was positive.
• discussed proposed changes to school board policy 5700, a district regulation that deals with open records. Grannell asked school district attorney Joe Hatley for more information. Proposed changes will be presented at the February board of education meeting for review. There was no mention of a public hearing to allow input from district patrons on revisions to policy 5700 Public Records.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Well, first of all, I need more information on these 186 who were not eligible to district health insurance and how the Affordable Care Act is requiring them to do so now. To me the whole “truth” is not being given and I need more information. I am sure if I sent an e-mail to Gilhaus for more information on this issue, he would want to charge me to get the info and also like he has done time and time again, he would not actually answer the questions presented to him.

    Short of money………well, maybe you might want to talk to Brownback and his Republican legislators who have no problem whatsoever in telling a whole bunch of business people they no longer need to pay state income tax or talk to them about all of the costs the people now face because the extremist Republicans who come hell or high water want people to bring guns now into government buildings whenever they choose – those no-gun signs really tick them off, however, I continue to be grateful when Gardner Family Care cares enough for their clients to still have up a no-gun sign up along with a no-smoking sign. And I am grateful there are still City Councils around like Prairie Village has and who don’t go along with this extremist gun nonsense.

    Perhaps the School Dist. might want to take some action with respect to these thieves getting their fraudulent “farm” appraisals here in Gardner and across the state of Kansas that strips so many tax dollars from school coffers. A good example is one property right in downtown Gardner where they were paying $5,559.99 for property taxes in 2011 and the local schools were getting $2,364.46 compared to what they paid in 2012 after they got their “farm” appraisal – they then paid a grand total of $3.08 in property taxes with $1.31 going to local schools. You have hundreds of these types of what I call fraud going on here in Gardner and I believe over 7,000 in Johnson County alone. The big boys are financially raping every average citizen every freaking day of the year and do you see your legislators like Sutton or your city or county leaders doing a damn thing about this financial rape – not to my knowledge you haven’t. And then you have all of the corporate welfare with tax incentives, TIFs, Star Bonds, tax rebates, pay-in-lieu agreements, up front handouts of cash and on and on it goes – it is a wonder we have money to flush the toilets.

    And then you have jerks like Gilhaus and many others whining about costs for some 186 employees getting some health care insurance which, to me, every citizen should have and on which issue I doubt very much if Gilhaus has been totally forthcoming or presenting the whole truth. If those 186 people have no health care insurance, then citizens will be paying those health care costs through higher insurance premiums and social costs. Also when people have jobs that do not provide a livable wage or needed benefits, then the average citizen will be paying social costs to handle that suffering. Our youth are going to have to be educated if they are ever to have income to meet their needs and that corporate welfare sure puts a big hole in the dollars needed to provide an excellent education to our youth. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

    You will always have money problems when you enable and support cronyism government and allow the politicians, bureaucrats and thieves to be so arrogant, hateful and power driven and while you are paying them a small fortune to do so.

    Citizens better be prepared here in a couple or so years when they start paying for that last bond issue or to pay the high cost of utilities (especially when you pay higher utility costs for the needs of the thieves like that last sewer plant bankrolled by Edgerton and Gardner – that was some good political wheeling and dealing by Drovetta, Gardner City Council and Mike Press) – not going to be pretty, especially when the thieves continue to financially rape you due to the support of the politicians and bureaucrats.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    I read an article in the KC Star yesterday about the intermodal. They now employ 300 individuals. Guess how many of those 300 are BNSF employees. 3, yes I said THREE. Most of the rest 297 work for In-terminal Services, a national contracting firm that handles operations at many intermodals. What wages do you think they offer and what is their benefit package? Probably about the same as those who are and will be working in those hire and fire jobs in the no climate control warehouses. Those owners of those warehouses are getting a 75% tax incentive for 10 years and the school tax dollars generated by that corporate welfare are certainly cut to the bone. To say nothing about how average citizens have to pay thru the nose for all of the intermodal infrastructure costs that will never end.

    Yeah, Gilhaus, you and your School Board whine a little bit more about how you have funding problems considering you already probably have the highest school mill levy in the whole state – you rubberstamp or support everyone of those sweet deals that the thieves want. Your back room deals with the politicians have never done a thing for the average citizen and I learned that very well when you lied to me about that Kimberly-Clark tax incentive and how the affects of your dealings on every one of those sweet deals given adversely affect them. You never have the moral fortitude to say NO – we need those tax dollars to educate our youth.

    Citizens have dug their own expensive graves by electing and re-electing these politicians and supporting and enabling the bureaucrats who cost them a fortune. The poverty rate increases as we speak and more middle class citizens are going into poverty faster than lightening due to cronyism government.

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Do you know how railroads are appraised for their intermodal properties? I certainly learned much about it after spending hours on the phone on numerous days over several months with state railroad appraisers for the states of Illinois, Montana and Kansas. If you had knowledge on this issue you would have a clear picture of what happens to their appraised values and the tax dollars you will receive when the properties reach the level of the Board of Equalization. Citizens have money problems involving the taxing entities such as the schools, the County, Parks and Rec, the library, Jo. Co. Community College, the cities, the Fire Dists.? – if you were more or fully informed on all of the loss of tax dollars due to corporate welfare in such astronomical ways, then you would know why you can barely put bread on the table.

    If you could get your County to bill correctly for property taxes, especially on those which received a tax incentive or handout of some sort, you would be getting more tax dollars to work with. I have begged, borrowed, pleaded, demanded, requested and about everything under the sun with the County Commissioners and the County Auditor to get these tax bills prepared correctly and to cut down on the errors.. I have found error after error and feel sure there are oodles more since I have only spent my time on those affecting handouts in the Gardner area which is only a small part of what I feel could be going out wrong. They were going to continue to provide a tax incentive for the fourth quarter of one billing year on an account that should not have been allowed and I had to address that issue very assertively for the citizens – I certainly didn’t just take their first denial of a re-billing – I fought for the people and got the dollars owed to us.

    Citizens get my services for FREE but most of time they are not appreciated nor wanted. So many in the community love to undermine my credibility by calling me wacko, crazy, funny, etc. but that is ok since I have a tough skin after educating and informing myself on so much (but so much I have not even touched or know about) and those who make those comments, for the most part, are the very ones who want and enable and support cronyism government – they don’t want their “good life” messed with.

  4. Walter H. says:

    “We have a dollar problem with a five cent solution.”

    That says it all….maybe we should get rid of the five cent employees at the USD and get someone that at least acts like they care.

    You have someone in charge of a $100 million dollar budget with no accountability by the tax payers. Why?

    In my opinion the Superintendent has brought great discredit on this district, has lost the confidence and trust of his peers, his employees and most importantly the people he is supposed to be serving.

    He needs to go…..

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