Archive for Thursday, August 13, 2009

School district budget jumps 9.5 mills for 2009-2010

The Baldwin Board of Education approved its 2009-2010 budget, which includes an increase of 9.519 mills, at its meeting Monday night.

The Baldwin Board of Education approved its 2009-2010 budget, which includes an increase of 9.519 mills, at its meeting Monday night.

August 13, 2009

On Monday night, the Baldwin School Board increased its mill levy by 9.519 mills and unanimously approved a $15.4 budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

The school district’s budget increased from $14.8 million in 2008-2009 to $15.4 this coming school year. Baldwin’s general operating fund was $8.863 million last year, but cuts from the state legislature has dropped the general fund to $8.235 million for the 2009-2010 year.

“If you compare actual expenditures from ‘08-‘09 to the budget expenditures for ‘09-‘10, we are hundreds of thousands of dollars short and we knew we would be,” said Cynde Frick, director of financial operations for the district. “This is basically all of that state aid that was lost.”

The state base aid per pupil was cut from $4,400 to $4,280 earlier this year. It was again reduced to $4,218 this summer, which was an additional $105,871 cut from the district’s budget.

Despite the cuts in the general operating fund, the mill levy will be jumping from 56.159 mills to 65.678 mills. A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The increase is because of the $22.9 million bond issue that was passed by voters in November. The bond and interest mill levy for the district was at 10.276 mills for the 2008-2009 school year. For this year, that number has increased to 20.614 mills.

The assessed valuation for property in the school district also dropped this year for the first time in many years. It decreased from $74.5 million to $73.5 million.

“Most of that was due to the effect of the bond issue and the first amount of bonds on there,” Supt. Paul Dorathy said. “It also went a little higher in mills, because we did have a valuation decrease of 1.5 percent. That pushed the mills up a little higher to produce the same amount of money. It’s a fairly significant increase that the voters approved.”

During the meeting, Dorathy explained that they tried to help the district’s patrons with the mill levy as much as possible.

“The average mill increase for the entire life of the bond issue would be 10.5 mills and that’s what we told everyone during the campaign,” he said. “This year, we are under 10.5 mills. In the second year, there is a little spike in the mill levy, but then it drops back down. In order to help protect taxpayers a little bit more, we raised a little bit more money in the cash-basis reserve, so that we could offset that mill increase next year. We are hoping to control the mill levy next year by a couple of mills. We’re attempting to not hit the taxpayers anymore than we already are right now.”

During the budget hearing Monday, Frick said the rest of the budget looks similar to the 2008-2009 budget.

“Everything looks like it’s flat this year, as far as revenue and enrollment,” Frick said. “The only place we’ve increased the budget was in at-risk, which is free lunch students. There was a pretty significant increase from the beginning of the year and May, so we bumped that up another 20 kids.”

Comments

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

"......a fairly significant increase that the voters approved"

Understatement of the year. Thank you to all who voted for this nightmare.

0

greyghost 4 years, 8 months ago

It's a good thing all of the bids the district is taking for these bond issue project are coming well below budget. Right, Mr. Dorathy?

0

NanCrisp 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh, no! A greyghost post! Here comes the-only-greyghost disclaimer. Wait for it...

0

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

You disappoint me Nancy. I really counted on you to jump on this story. (however your observation about the greyghost controversay was amusing )

0

BaldwinDad 4 years, 8 months ago

It's nice to know we have some of the best schools in the area, but when it means that most average families can't afford to live here what good is it?

0

NanCrisp 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, what can be said? We're toast! Much as I enjoy saying, "I told you so," I know a lot of so-and-so's who are still acting smug and feeling fine. They insist on making B.C. so outrageously expensive that even people in Lawrence feel sorry for us. When JoCo folks start pitying the B.C. suckas, then we'll have the distinction of being the worst value in Kansas.

Maybe I wouldn't mind so much if B.C. kids were getting the high-quality education that our town pretends they are getting. Buildings do not educate anyone. We're putting all our resources down the wrong holes. All that matters here is development (see where that got Las Vegas) and pretense.

I do believe there will be quite a bit of "buyer's remorse" when a number of voters who couldn't do the math themselves last fall (or didn't want to bother) see the actual dollars in their mortgages or real estate tax bills a couple of months from now. Of course, there are a couple of hundred voters who have graduated Baker or otherwise moved on from B.C. since saddling us with this tax burden. They'll be sleeping well...wherever they're sleeping these days.

0

sandman 4 years, 8 months ago

“The only place we’ve increased the budget was in at-risk, which is free lunch students. There was a pretty significant increase from the beginning of the year and May, so we bumped that up another 20 kids.”

Another 20 kids this year........Well you'd better plan for more next year. People are being taxed to the point of not even being able to provide lunch money for their kids. Here's a great idea....let's raise the mill levy right in the midst of a recession. At least the County recognizes the economic downturn we are in, and here comes the school district (right on cue) and raises the mill levy to make up for it.

I totally agree with the infinite wisdom of "pissedoff" and one of his other posts.........Horse Sh_t!!!!!!!!!!

0

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

ditto sandman Let's remember that the city also cut their budget and lowered their mill levy. at least a few entities are trying to be responsible. Please note that the school district has only sold HALF the bonds. Guess what folks--when they sell the rest of them this tax goes up again. This is a nightmare.

0

Stacy Napier 4 years, 8 months ago

We can thank everyone who lives in the rental houses and the Baker students who voted this in. They had nothing to loose.

As said many times. Good buildings don't make a good school or better educated children.

And your numbers seem to be wrong. I am looking at my tax bill right now and it shows USD348 in the 2008 rate of 50.422 mils and the bond and interest of 10.276. My calculator adds that up to 60.698 not 56.159.

So all added up with the new bond it looks like we will be paying the school district about 70 mills

And my child still uses old computers that are slower than than a pent II

0

NanCrisp 4 years, 8 months ago

Oh, the renters had something to lose. A lot of tenants have received rent increase notices. Mine are among them. In this economy, I can't afford to subsidize anything!

0

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

You are right, renters have a lot to lose. Problem is that most of them don't know a thing about basic economics. Do we even teach civics classes anymore? Looks to me like the general population is fairly ignorant about how taxes and the economy really works. All they heard was how great it would be for the kids and how wonderful these new ball fields will be. Bet the district won't even be able to afford to turn on the lights.

0

greyghost 4 years, 8 months ago

If you want to reform elections get a hold of the Secretary of State.

Here's his email: Ron_Thornburgh@kssos.org

Here's cut/paste from his site:
ELECTION REFORM - HAVA

Welcome to the election reform page. This section is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on election reform issues at the national and local level. Secretary Thornburgh has dedicated himself to ensuring that all citizens have equal access to democracy through voting.

Secretary Thornburgh was a leader in the nationwide election reform movement that resulted in a new federal law, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). He now has the responsibility of implementing a multitude of federal mandates on state and local levels through the 2006 election cycle. Planning for implementation is underway with the goal of making Kansas' electoral process even better than it is today.

If you are interested in learning more about HAVA please click on the links to the left under election reform. You will find a list of events and information about the Kansas Federal Election Reform Advisory Council. If you would like more in depth information about HAVA, please select the HAVA overview link.

0

greyghost 4 years, 8 months ago

This is getting good (stupid). Notwhatyouthink blames those that rent their residences and Baker students for his tax bill. Solo hastily generalizes "most" renters as ignorant. ROTFLMFAO!

0

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

Let me amend my statement ---I think most renters under a certain age are completely ignorant about economics. It is not taught in schools except, as perhaps "theory"--I challenge you to do a "Jay-walking" moment ala Jay Leno and go around ask people under the age of let's say 35 -40 and ask them to define a mill levy. Then ask them how a mill levy affects their personal finances? I bet you'd be stunned at the response. I know because I have had these conversations with people and the lack of basic understanding of the taxing and political system is appalling. Not just here in Baldwin but all over. It's just hits closer to home here in Baldwin where we are now all going to have to pay for this economic ignorance. Sure, we all want beautiful new schools for our children and we want state of the art ball fields for all our budding MLB players but they come at a real cost.

And yes, I too believe the Baker vote carried this election. Of course those college students had the right to vote and should have voted for national and state offices. However they should not have been encouraged to vote for a local tax that did not and will never affect them. Shame on those who actively went around and encouraged these students drop to the bottom of the ballot and hastily check "yes" because after all they were there anyway and wouldn't it be nice "for the children"? What 18 -21 year old just out of high school themselves is going to spend much time thinking about the real costs of that kind of vote? New ball fields for the kids---cool---sure, I will vote for that!

Again, I will live with this mess because this is our democracy in action. I also blame myself and others for not standing up and actively voicing oppostion during the elction cycle. Silly me, I thought during an "economy as bad as the Great Depression" that our voters were wiser than this. I know better now.

0

NanCrisp 4 years, 8 months ago

Just want to say that I did stand up, along with Torch and maybe one other person. Until the proverbial excrement actually hit the wind generator, we got no support and were often verbally attacked by those who refuse to believe that some of their neighbors are actually hurting, actually working for literally nothing -- and I mean actually WORKING as in breaking a sweat to earn a living. I've noticed that none of these upstanding citizens have posted on the current thread.

0

Julie Craig 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, so far that raises my tax bill over $10.40 a week instead of the $10 a month that some quoted during the campaign. Worst timing ever for a new bond issue with the State of Kansas budget cuts.

Add that to a large increase in electric rates at the city, and Baldwin is hosed again.

What say you now, Bloggerboo?

0

Peabody 4 years, 8 months ago

Nancy (and others),

I'll respond to your posts, although I will not claim the title of "upstanding citizen."

I assume that most of us who supported the bond issue share my sentiment that it is of little use to respond to your negative posts -- you all have decided that the passage of the bond has created a "nightmare" and that Baldwin City is on the fast track to purgatory. You do not invite any discussion on this matter.

I do not believe I am naive about the real costs of this bond -- I do understand what a mill levy means in real dollars. But I believe this bond issue is an important investment in the future of Baldwin City and the families who live here.

On behalf of the citizens who supported this bond issue -- your neighbors and friends -- I would appreciate more civil consideration in this blog. We are not idiots, nor are we irresponsible. We just happen to have a different opinion on this particular issue.

Tony Brown

0

greyghost 4 years, 8 months ago

"I think most renters under a certain age are completely ignorant about economics." --Sol0


I will go a little further: Most Americans are ignorant about economics, even the ones that have bought a home -- hence the foreclosure boom.

How many foreclosures in the Baldwin School District since last November? How many of those told themselves that they shouldn't vote for this because "they've got nothing to lose"? If only America knew what a variable rate meant before they bought a $200,000 house.

Only in America is it okay to plead ignorance when it comes to math -- "I'm just not good at math/numbers".

0

Julie Craig 4 years, 8 months ago

Tony There is nothing wrong with venting on this forum when it is frustrating that this bond issue put too much on our plates. I also have my own opinion and don't feel bad about disagreeing with you.

Some critical needs are being shoved to the back burner because of the State of Ks budget crisis in order to not raise the mill levy any further.

Hopefully, when it's all said and done, there will still be good teachers, learning materials, buses, safe roads, utilities, adequate parking, furniture and equipment to carry on at USD 348.

0

Peabody 4 years, 8 months ago

GreatGazoo,

I'm not asking for unanimity, just some modicum of civility.

Those of us who supported the bond issue are not the enemy -- we are your neighbors. I believe we accomplish more when we talk "with" each other as opposed to "at" each other.

Tony

0

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

Tony I am sorry I have put you on the defensive however you are sounding eerily similiar to some of your compatriots in the US House and Senate who are finding once boring town hall forums a little hot for their liking. Accusing those you vehemently disagree with your (their) point of view as being "uncivil" is simply not fair.(At least you didn't refer to us as "angry mobs" or suggest discent is "un-American".

I am not backing down that in my opinion this bond issue is a nightmare. You disagree. I expected you to disagree. You will be surprised that in November I knew you and I were on total opposite sides of this issue and others issues but .... hang on to your hat....I voted for you anyway! I voted for you because I believe you will listen to others without passing judgment and hopefully take the opposing side's point-of -view into consideration when you are voting in Topeka. So no, I don't view you as the enemy here, but I do view you and others who voted for this as flat out wrong. I do believe a coordinated effort was made to influence Baker students to vote for this bond issue and though it's perfectly legal, I think it was morally a bit suspect.

Like I stated before, there is absolutely nothing I can do about this vote now. I am angry at myself I didn't more loudly voice my objections at the time. However I think many of us are putting the school board, the city, the county, the state and the federal government on notice that we want our voices heard and to quit with the politcal shenigans and just play it straight with us. People are mad and getting madder. I hope all elected officials are paying close attention.

0

Peabody 4 years, 8 months ago

Solo,

I'm comfortable with dissent -- we disagree on this matter and I think that is fine, even healthy, for the public debate.

What I find distressing is an increasing tendency to confuse "yelling at each other" for "discussion of issues." I don't understand how all this screaming moves us closer to solving any problems, whether it's health care or a school bond.

Being mean-spirited to one another is far from un-American -- there's a lot of evidence of nasty fights during the country's founding. But I think it is a really inefficient method for addressing social issues. I would like to think we can do better in our community.

Tony

0

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

Tony

Have you ever considered the possibility that the "yelling" is the only way to get a politician's attention? (Present company accepted of course) They ignore emails, they ignore telephone calls and in general are condescending as heck to anyone who takes the time to phone in their disagreements.Yes, I know this for a fact because I spoke to a local young man who actually worked in a Congressional office one summer and regularly referred to the constituents who phone in as "nut cases". Nice.

I find it refreshing that some of these arrogant and self serving congressman are having to face an increasingly angry and fed up electorate. I say it's about time. And if they can't stand the heat then get out of kitchen! Dennis Moore is a perfect example of this behavior. He is having no town hall meetings this August break. What a coward.

As for local politics, I frankly haven't heard of any screaming going on at either school board meetings or city council meetings. I am sure the Signal would have reported on it if it had happened. So I am confused by your comment as it pertains to this issue. Yes, some of us are venting on this site but that is hardly screaming at each other. However some yelling is in order when you are speaking to the deaf.

Again, I do not think I am being mean-spirited. Just painfully honest. I am angry and more than a little scared about what this financial obligation will do to our little community.

0

Peabody 4 years, 8 months ago

Solo,

I am not picking a fight with you or anybody else in this community.

I will suggest, however, that many of the comments on this post have been meant to belittle the half of the community who voted for the bond issue. And it started to become an echo chamber:

"Thank you to all who voted for this nightmare."

"It's a good thing all of the bids the district is taking for these bond issue project are coming well below budget. Right, Mr. Dorathy?"

"Well, what can be said? We're toast! Much as I enjoy saying, “I told you so,” I know a lot of so-and-so's who are still acting smug and feeling fine."

"I do believe there will be quite a bit of “buyer's remorse” when a number of voters who couldn't do the math themselves last fall (or didn't want to bother) see the actual dollars in their mortgages or real estate tax bills a couple of months from now."

"I totally agree with the infinite wisdom of “pissedoff” and one of his other posts………Horse Sh_t!!!!!!!!!!"

"We can thank everyone who lives in the rental houses and the Baker students who voted this in. They had nothing to lose."

"Silly me, I thought during an “economy as bad as the Great Depression” that our voters were wiser than this. I know better now."

"I've noticed that none of these upstanding citizens have posted on the current thread."

I know these sentiments are sincere, but they don't advance the discussion. I'm not sure what they do except cast blame on our neighbors. And I fundamentally disagree with that.

The bond issue passed. We can allow its passage to divide the community or we can work together to see that our investment benefits us all. With all due respect, I hope we can work toward the latter outcome.

Tony

0

Torch 4 years, 8 months ago

I don't disagree with our esteemed respresentative that the bond was a signficiant investment in the future of Baldwin - such that it is.

NanCrisp, myself, and many others saw the recession coming and we warned people over and over about the flaw of taking on debt in a crumbling economy. But others stuck their head in the sand and pretended life doesn't exist outside the 594- prefix.

I won't call them idiots. I'll call them short-sighted and frankly it bothers me that our representative was one of its stauch supporters. Makes me wonder what other fairy tales he's falling for in Topeka.

0

Peabody 4 years, 8 months ago

Torch,

You and I are not enemies. We should not be enemies.

If you are willing to do so, let's work together to make Baldwin City a better community for all of us.

I am asking you to join me in following the "better angels of our nature," as one of our great statesmen once asked of his countrymen. I certainly believe that is appropriate in this current time.

But I also understand if you wish to continue to attack me personally. That's part of my job, although not one of which I am particularly fond.

Tony

0

NanCrisp 4 years, 8 months ago

Tony:

I am constantly amazed at your ability to take every reference I make on these threads personally. Just so you know now and in the future: I am not talking about (or to) you unless I say so. These comments are meant for people who know who they are, but I'll put them in perspective:

The "upstanding" citizen who comes to mind as having been an attacker in the past is Bloggerboo. Our friend Boo goes on the personal offensive at every opportunity, trying to drown out anyone who opposes anything that has to do with the school district. I only give tit for tat. Play nice with me and I'll play nice with you. Blogger does not play nice here.

As for those who continue to act smug, they know who they are. I hope you are not among them!

And the comment on buyer's remorse: there is nothing personal or overblown about that one. The plethora of commenters on this thread as well as the buzz around town verifies this. And why do we need to talk about a vote that's a done deal? So, hopefully, we don't get fooled again.

0

solo 4 years, 8 months ago

Somehow I wonder if all this pining for "civility" in our discourse is just an attempt to change the subject and draw attention away from the real subject.

Growing our tax bill by nearly 10 mills in a recession is absurd. Particularly when it doesn't look like our district is growing at all.

Nancy is right. We need to continue to talk about this because so we are all better educated and better prepared for the next election. No need to take this personally Tony. We disagree. You will never change my mind on this issue. I'm not uncivil I am passionate.

0

Stacy Napier 4 years, 8 months ago

I am not here to be uncivil either. I just think the numbers need to be posted. My tax bill on just my house will be about $3500 That is one month of my takehome pay. Add in all the other taxes like the increase in sales tax the city is trying to push and the taxes on my vehicles etc. I am paying out 10% of my takehome pay. I was lucky and got a 1/2 % raise for next year. Yea that is gone.

I hope everyone knows that in five more years the school district will be asking for another 10mill bond issue to build a new junior high. They have already stated this in the joint council meeting last year. When does it end? When you take 50% of my pay?

0

Peabody 4 years, 8 months ago

Dear Neighbors,

I am not trying to fight with you, nor change your minds, nor change the subject. You are free to disagree with me -- I am not contesting that.

I am merely suggesting that we are all in this together and that we would benefit from working together as a community. I don't think that is a radical idea. I hoped you might agree.

I apologize for any insult I might have made to your sensibilities. I am trying to be conciliiatory.

Please, with all your energies, rage on.

Signing off, Tony

0

NanCrisp 4 years, 7 months ago

notwhatyouthink:

Indeed, you are a lucky one. My paycheck did not increase, but I'm far better off than my better half, who literally gave away his work throughout 2008 and is well on his way to paying people to employ him this year. At the same time, we manage to pay our tax bills, which support four Baldwin City schoolchildren, one Wellsville schoolchild, and about 1/2 of a Topeka schoolchild. I guess we also manage to support the Lawrence school district, as they are getting the state allotment for my son who attends there (although we do not own property in that district). In the past three years, my children have heard nothing but budget-budget-budget to the point of nausea (just ask my son).

Yes, I am angry. I am not over-the-top screaming mad, but I am more than simply fed up with people who try to tell me I'm not supportive enough of schools or the "most vulnerable." I am a lot closer to the truly "vulnerable" than the people who are lecturing me. (And this time, Tony, you can include yourself amongst my critics.)

What do the working poor really want? They want to keep their jobs. They want to feed their children themselves, without having to go on foodstamps or other support. But increasing taxes on their employers endangers their jobs while increasing taxes such as sales tax takes more out of their take-home pay. This is what true vulnerability is about. Those who are firmly set at the top of the middle class only have to fear falling lower in the middle class ranks. Those who teeter on the lower edges are fearful of dropping below the poverty line. It is a very real possibility for them, not just "doom and gloom." They are saying, "Don't push me over the brink!" And they don't think anyone is really listening, because we've all been trained to believe that it's never about the money. Well, now it really is about the money. The money is gone and there is no blood left in these turnips.

0

JasonMock 4 years, 7 months ago

I've been reading through this mess for a few days, and I've found it time to finally comment. The coordinated effort to sway Baker students to vote for the bond issue was essential a few editorials I wrote for the Baker Orange. I am proud of the work I did to get the bond issue passed, but to suggest that my efforts, or for that matter any get out the vote effort on Baker's campus drove 312 Baker students to vote let alone vote for the bond issue is ridiculous.

The way I see it, the Baker vote provides an avenue for an unhappy minority to lash out a policy that was voted for by a popular majority. Perhaps if the anti-bond folks had managed to present a unified front, rather than a few pieces of plywood with spray paint, and a couple angry letters to the editor the bond might not have passed.

Again, I would like to thank everyone here for suggesting that my skills as a political activist amount to getting 1/3 of the Baker population to the polls, I know how limited my skills are, and thus cannot possibly accept credit for passing the bond all by myself.

0

hipgrrrrl 4 years, 7 months ago

Small majority, Mr. Mock. Very small. Frankly, it is not unlikely that your work to convince the students of Baker U to vote actually passed this bond issue.

So, it passed and my children will be attending a brand new school that puts some in JoCo to shame.

These days, I'm quite irritated by the town that I used to be charmed by. We moved here with some naivity - I didn't know they would be shutting down the elementary school. I didn't know that the utilities were quite as crazy as they are. I moved here to get out of Johnson County and to avoid the high real estate costs in Lawrence. I wanted good schools for my kids, I wanted the convenience of a small town and the small town ambience with the culture that comes with a university.

Guess what? I'm priced out. What does this mean? On the small side, it means that when I can't do it anymore, I won't be investing in the community by picking up things at the market, liquor store, hardware store or having my vehicles serviced in Baldwin. My children won't be attending dance classes or paid activities downtown. My daily latte will be purchased outside of Baldwin City. My mower won't be serviced by a local resident. Small things, yes. Do they add up to contribute to the well-being of a community? They certainly do.

Perhaps more largely important, there is no way I can sell my "somewhat fixed fixer-upper" for what I paid for it and when I finally decided that enough is enough, having yet another forclosure on my small block won't help this community at all.

Go ahead and accept some credit for the passing of this bond. I certainly accept some blame for not involving myself further in efforts to put this ridiculous bond issue out to pasture.

0

greyghost 4 years, 7 months ago

So, what you're saying is that it's not hip to have voted for the bond issue?

0

hipgrrrrl 4 years, 7 months ago

:). Nope. Not according to HipGrrrrl.

0

Stacy Napier 4 years, 7 months ago

I am tired or reading about how things will get better if we have developement and can spread the cost.

Then I read everyones post and it talks about how they moved here to get away from big development and live in a small town.

Everyone of you (including council members) who wants to have developement and get 'bigger and better' move. You can move to JOCO or KCMO for that matter. That is a huge town with lots of development. Oh yea it isn't all that great is it? Shoot it should be almost free to live in KCMO with all the spread of tax burden, yet they are laying off Police and Fireman.

Look at the other story. We are building a new school yet the numbers are decreasing. We did not need a great new ivory tower school. A small old home town build works just fine. There is a little pride in going to school where your father/mother/grandparents did.
Again I say look at Baker U. They have some of their orginal buildings that they still use.

I WANT a brand new car, but my old one gets me where I need to go and most importantly it is paid for.

0

beevo 4 years, 7 months ago

The Baldwin schools first enrollment figures are down forty students. That equals about three classrooms. That also means less Kansas State money going to our local school district. The school district and city need to get their costs under control!

0

beevo 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh, by the way. Kansas State base aid per pupil is $4,218.00. Forty students times $4,218.00 equals $168,720.00. That is a lot of money! Will the Baldwin School Board increase the mill levy?

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.