Baldwin school district’s published budget has maxed out capital outlay mill levy but could change
The Baldwin school board on Tuesday approved for publication a 2012-2013 budget with a property tax levy 1.045 mills higher than in last year’s budget.
Before it is published in July 26 issue of The Baldwin Signal, the budget must be sent to the Kansas Department of Education for its approval.
The $19.56 million proposed budget would require a 69.878-mill levy. The levy for last year’s $18.69 million budget was 68.833 mills.
“Keep in mind this is your first glimpse at the 2012-2013 budget,” district financial operations director Cynde Frick said. “What you’re doing is looking at it at a distance and seeing if you are comfortable with the mill levy.”
The board can reduce spending in the published budget after a hearing on the document scheduled for 8 p.m. Aug. 20. One area ripe for discussion is the capital outlay fund.
Frick said she slotted the capital outlay fund at 8 mills, the district’s maximum taxing authority for the fund, because of the flexibility the board has in August to chop spending. A year ago, the board reduced the capital outlay fund to 5 mills before approving the final budget.
In addition to the capital outlay fund, the proposed budget includes the statewide 20-mill levy in support of the $1.37 million general fund, the 22.315 mills for the $1.526 million local option budget and 21.5 mills for bond and interest payments.
After approving the budget for publication, the board revisited two busing issues that would have consequences on general fund spending.
Board member Ande Parks led a push in May to review last fall’s decision not to place video cameras on buses to monitor student behavior. The cost to install the cameras is estimated at $21,000 to $22,000.
When the issue was reintroduced Tuesday, board member Sheryl Gill suggested having paraprofessionals ride in buses as an alternative to cameras. The former administrator in the Santa Fe Trail school district said ride-along monitors were effective in controlling student behavior in that district.
Superintendent Paul Dorathy said he hadn’t looked into ride-along monitors because they would require continued funding, while cameras would be a one-time expense.
After some debate, the board voted 5-2, with Sandy Chapman and Ruth Berkley opposed, to have staff look into the costs of monitors compared to cameras for consideration at the board meeting.
The board also let stand the current policy of providing free bus service to students living within 2.5 miles of their school. But it did so with the realization that the district might not be able to afford that option in the future as it deals with the consequences of the tax cuts the Kansas Legislature approved this year.
To make progress on what Chapman said would be a long-term solution of improving sidewalks and pedestrian safety, she was appointed chairwoman of a committee that will also include board member Chad Christie. They will look into such things as securing a Safe Route to Schools grant in partnership with the city.
In other action, the board:
• Voted to appoint Nick Harris as board president for the 2012-2013 school year and Chad Christie as vice president.
• Approved purchase of a 2009 Freightliner bus with less than 35,000 miles for $61,500 from Midwest Bus Sales.