April 24, 2014

USD 231 officials not happy with reform plan

Mark Taylor
mtaylor@gardnernews.com
Gardner Edgerton school officials are no fans of Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed school finance reform plan.
Eric Hansen, business manager for the school district, pointed out several of what he considers shortfalls in the finance plan during a presentation to the school board on Jan. 9.
Brownback’s finance reform plan, which was unveiled last month, was intended to fix “a broken system” and “increase local control” for public education funding.
The current school finance formula has been in place since 1992.
The proposed plan eliminates the caps on the amount of funds schools can raise locally through local property taxes.
It also proposes at least the same amount of funding the state’s 283 school districts received this year so long as their enrollment numbers and Local Option Budget mill levy remain stable
The plan guarantees a base state aid per pupil of $4,492 and an additional supplemental fund that would be divvied out based on a new formula.
That formula uses the property values of the wealthiest districts to create a funding ceiling while current funding creates a base level of spending.
Hansen said the elimination of weightings for schools with unique challenges will hurt the district’s finances.
Fore example he said, the base state aid per pupil in 2008-09 was $4,400, but with weighting factors that number rose to $6,490.
This year’s base of $3,780 was actually $6,490 with weighting included.
The governor’s proposed base state aid of $4,492 pales in comparison, Hansen said.
“It’s important for us to not lose sight of important parts of the formula,” he said.
Hansen added that nothing in the proposed formula addresses “the $455 million that has been taken away from K-12 since 2009.”
Ron Ragan, board president, noted that the proposed formula has no provisions for state aid for school bond issues.
The state currently covers 35 percent of the cost of the school district’s bond projects.
“The thing that impacts us at this point is obviously the bond. If we don’t pass this bond now, we risk losing $25 million in state aid,” he said.
Hansen agreed.
“I can’t imagine the impact to our local taxpayers, what our mill levy would look like if we had to cover a bond issue with no state aid.”
Hansen said the new formula would not kick in until 2013-14 and he believes Brownback wants to keep the base aid per pupil at $3,780 in the meantime.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Citizens will be paying for that exorbinant school bond issue one way or the other and it really doesn’t make much difference whether it is at the state level or locally – it just sounds good when they sell state aid as “FREE MONEY” or money from the Fairy Godmother……..there is no free lunch – you pay one way or the other, at least the average citizen pays but not the big boy special interests who get the sweet deals. School district makes little, if any, effort to stop all of the handouts to the thieves that robs the people of billions of dollars and most of those billions are for schools. They sure didn’t show up to refute that Kimberly-Clark handout (after they told me they were going to do so) where we lost millions of school tax dollars nor do they spend time like I do to check those thieves’ tax bills and find the errors like I have for years and get over a $1 MILLION for the people they wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for me checking the bills. Eric Hanson could be be using his financial training, which I certainly don’t have, in a much better manner, in my opinion, to protect the interests of the people – he AND that school board and Gilhaus but once again, they too have become so politically and morally corrupt, in my opinion, that the people are on their own with nothing but higher tax bills to deal with. Education of our youth is one of the most important issues our people should deal with but those worthless politicians and bureaucrats are not working for the people or the youth by a long shot – that is my opinion. This school district merely sues you in court for MORE MONEY using YOUR tax dollars to do so and now they want you to put yourselves in debt up to the sky and they have the audacity to say they are doing their jobs well………….well, I hardly think so.

  2. Tablets

  3. I remember when board members had to actually get out and talk to people about raising taxes. Now they just hide in their nice new office and blame the state when they mismanage our money. How many administrators are in this district? I’m old enough to remember Ted Parry; he could make a nickle squeak; not try to sell us fake grass and broken promises. Boot out this school board and the talking heads they’ve hired.

  4. This is a triple tax bond! says:
  5. Judith Rogers says:

    Yeah, they will triple dip any time they can get by with it and remember you lost your fire department that same year you got that huge city mill levy increase – you now “rent” a fireman instead of having your own and if you have a fire at the intermodal and a home fire in Gardner at the same time, where do you think those fire trucks will go???? School Dist. hired that double or triple dipper from Olathe and I wonder what Gilhaus has him do to earn his exorbinant pay??? The people better start taking care of business is all I have to say.

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