Mark your calendars for August 17, because after months of political turmoil and budgetary suspense, USD 383 board of education members approved the 2016-2017 budget at Wednesday’s board meeting. A public hearing will be held before the regular meeting on August 17 at 6:20 p.m.
Lew Faust, director of business services, made his final presentation to the board where he recommended the board go with the budget as presented. In July, board members had flirted with the idea of keeping the capital outlay mill levy flat thanks to a change in property tax valuation. Faust told board members the mill levy could be reduced by nearly 1.3 mills, but if the levy were to be kept flat the district could increase its cash reserves.
“…my concern is about budget cuts that could happen between now and the 2017 legislative session,” said Leah Fliter, board member. Fliter said she was concerned that school funding could be cut once again if revenues continue to come in short for Kansas.
President Marcia Rozell was not in favor of the proposal, and referred to it as a “slippery slope.”
In an item not originally on the agenda, board members approved the 2016-17 teacher contract, which was early this year due to teacher ratification online. The agreement is close to the one announced in July, which includes a 2.5% total compensation package increase, increase of $775.00 on the base salary (starting salary for a teacher will be $37,000), and continued coverage of the health insurance premium.
In other business, a special meeting for 5 p.m. on August 24 to hear from six different firms looking to partner with USD 383 for long range facilities planning. Eric Reid, assistant superintendent, has done much of the legwork and asked board members to come prepared to ask questions. The six firms will each be presenting for 40 minutes. At the September 7 meeting, the board will make a proposal and select a firm by the end of the month. Reid told board members that the different firms presenting are great quality, indicating the final decision will be important.