Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dorathy clarifies mill levy

August 17, 2006

Supt. Paul Dorathy wanted to clarify a few things about the 2006-2007 budget that were discussed at the Baldwin Board of Education meeting Monday night.

The school board approved the capital outlay resolution that was passed last December. The resolution raised the capital outlay mill levy to 8 mills last year.

The resolution was only published in the Signal once last year, but is required by law to be published two consecutive weeks.

"It is not an additional 8 mills," Dorathy said. "This is to take the place of the resolution that was not done properly in December 2005. The county clerk did pass it then, but we need to do this legally and be on the up and up."

Dorathy wanted to reiterate that point Tuesday, because he had received several questions about whether taxes would be rising.

"I just want to make it really clear to everybody that the 8 mill levy that the board passed the other night is not a new or extra tax," Dorathy said. "People in this district have been paying that 8 mills for a year. It's not a new thing."

Although there will be no increase in the capital outlay mill levy, the district will be raising the supplemental fund by nearly 8 mills for one year. This will help take care of the $300,000 deficit the district faces, which was revealed last week at a special meeting.

"The increase that we are looking at is an increase in the supplemental general fund to make up for that deficit that we have in the budget," Dorathy said Tuesday. "That will increase the overall budget of the district by about 7.7 mills for one year only. After that year is over, it will fall right back to where it has been."

Both the supplemental fund and capital outlay can be challenged by petition. On Monday night, Dorathy said if that were to happen, it would create big problems for the district, because of its financial deficit.

"If either one of those are challenged, this district would be in a deficit of $300,000," Dorathy said. "If they challenged both of those, the district would face a deficit of $600,000. Everyone should be aware of what could happen if this doesn't pass. It's imperative that this does pass."

Another part of the solution to the deficit that the board might try is to bond against the capital outlay. For this to happen, the 8-mill levy resolution must pass for a second time.

On Tuesday, Dorathy explained what could happen to the district if neither resolution pass.

"They could challenge by petition the capital outlay resolution," Dorathy said. "If it goes down, then we will lose all of the tax money from that and we would lose the opportunity to bond against that, which is part of the solution to fix this problem.

"The other part is the local-option budget and that could be challenged," Dorathy said. "If that is challenged through the same process, we could stand to lose all of the taxes, which would mean severe cuts for the school district. As I said last night, that could be several hundreds of thousands of dollars of cuts for the school district."

Dorathy also said Monday that if the two resolutions pass, the district would be out of the hole in one to two years. If they don't pass, it might take five or six years to get out of this deficit.

Dorathy wanted district patrons to be aware of who would be hurt if the resolutions are challenged.

"The deal that I want people to understand, if we get fired up here and say we're not going to pay for this, because we are angry with how this has been managed, the only ones that are going to be hurt in the long run are kids," Dorathy said. "I hope people think about the full ramifications here."

The final thing about the mill levy Dorathy wanted to make point of was how Baldwin compares to surrounding school districts. The information was published in the Lawrence Journal-World on Tuesday.

"The other thing I would like to point is a comparison of where our mill levy is compared to districts around us," Dorathy said. "Most of our neighbors are paying mill levies above even what we are going to ask for from our tax payers for just one year."

The school board will be holding a special budget workshop for the 2006-2007 budget at 7 p.m. tonight at the District Office. The budget hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 27 at the District Office.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.