Patrons wanting information on USD 231’s budget can find the information readily available on the district’s website— usd231.com. Information includes expenditure by category, enrollment and bond indebtedness.
“It’s our duty as a school board to be fully transparent and good stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars,” said Rob Shippy, president of the school board.
According to the website, the district’s mil levy in 2015-2016 is about 69 mills, down from 79.1 in 2013-2014. Total expenditure per pupil has increased from $9,073 to $9,820.
“Having all USD 231 budgetary documents readily available for our patrons to review at any time demonstrates our commitment to open communication and building trust among our constituents,” Shippy said. “It also allows our patrons to learn and understand the decision-making process that goes into operating the school district.”
The district recently passed a $29.7 million bond issue for a new wing addition and renovations to the high school, a stand-alone Advanced Technical Center for enhanced career and technical courses, and a facility for young adults with disabilities.
A law passed in 2013, K.S.A. 72-8254 “The Kansas Uniform Financial Accounting and Reporting Act,” requires all school districts publish current budget information on their website homepage. The law also requires actual expenditures for two years prior.
Gardner Edgerton, Spring Hill USD 230 and Wellsville USD 289 appear to be in compliance; however, a random sample of 40 districts’ websites by the Kansas Policy Institute found districts that were not complying with the law.
In 2014 SB 188 passed the Senate and would fine non-complying districts $1000 per day after 30 days notice. The bill was carried over and may be scheduled for vote in the House this year.