Budget Communication and up-to-date Board Considerations
Watch this page for the most recent
district talk about the budget challenges we are currently facing in USD #400.
What's the Matter with Kansas Schools
The New York Times
Proposed budget for FY
2015 presents both short- and long-term challenges
By Duane Goossen, Director of the Kansas Division of
TOPEKA — Kansas lawmakers will face difficult
budget decisions when they return to the Statehouse for the 2014 legislative
session. The Kansas Health Institute has produced an issue brief
that details this situation and projects the combined impact on revenue that
the 2012 and 2013 tax bills will have over the next few years.
A preliminary budget has already been
approved for fiscal year (FY) 2015, which runs from July 1, 2014, to June 30,
2015. However, policymakers will need to consider extensive revisions in order
to balance expenditures with projected revenue and leave a 7.5 percent ending
balance, as required by Kansas law.
A change in Kansas tax laws in 2012 and 2013
caused projected collections to be significantly lower in FY 2014 and beyond.
This has created a budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. Last session,
legislators modified some of the tax cuts and tried to reduce spending in order
to close the gap. However, even with those changes, approved spending exceeds
Projections show that the gap between
expenditures and receipts will widen over the next several years, unless
difficult decisions are made to bring them into closer balance.
To further complicate matters, there is
pressure to increase spending. For example, a lawsuit before the Kansas Supreme
Court could produce a ruling that requires the state to increase school funding
levels. Medicaid spending and contributions to the Kansas Public Employees
Retirement System (KPERS) are also likely to increase yearly. And there have
been specific requests to increase funding for corrections, higher education,
the judicial branch, state employee salaries, and other state services.
“Kansas lawmakers face
difficult choices concerning the budget in the upcoming legislative session,”
said Duane Goossen, KHI vice president for fiscal and health policy and a former
state budget director. “Their decisions will provide a visible reflection of
their policy priorities as we head into an election year.”
The Gov. has promised funding for all-day kindergarten. Won't that help our district budget next year?
As I stated in my comments a couple of weeks ago, I'm concerned about losing the money somewhere else in the state funding formula in order to fund kindergarten. There is serious discussion about attacking at-risk programs because some legislators felt they were over-funded last year, and there is no plan as to where the Gov. will find the extra 80 million to fund the program.
A loss in At-Risk and a gain in kindergarten funding would not be a "wash" for our district. USD #400 is among many districts that charge parents for the all-day program because of budget restraints. We promised our patrons that if the program was ever funded, we would pass that savings along to them, and relieve parents of the kindergarten fee. So in essence, the district could lose additional dollars. We do hope that it gets funded, but not at the expense of any of our other programs.
Won't the Schools get money if we win the State lawsuit over education funding? Even if the schools win the lawsuit, we cannot count on receiving additional revenue from the state, at least not anytime soon. There is no money.
-New York Times- The
potential deadlock over education funding comes as Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative
Republican, and his legislative allies have enacted deep tax cuts. Moderate
Republicans and Democrats have said that it was a cruel juxtaposition to slash
state revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when education is
underfunded by more than $400 million.
L. Rupe, a lawyer for the school districts and students seeking increased
funding, criticized the state leaders for passing a tax cut, “and then stand
here to plead they cannot increase funding to schools.”
Merrick, the Republican speaker of the House, told the Kansas City Star that he
did not see the Legislature “going along with what the courts say.” (see entire article - New York Times)
So what are we talking in terms of a timeline? ...How soon will we find out what official cuts will be made?
Usually the Board does not like to talk about the budget issues until after the first of the year. The legislative session can sometimes throw us a curveball, and we never know what's going to happen in Topeka. The serious concerns of our projected district financial situation and the state's revenue shortfalls have forced the USD 400 Board to begin discussions early this year. We need to have extensive discussion about how we intend to make the big cuts. There will certainly be additional recommendations for cost savings later in the spring after we see how things fall out. But we need to let our patrons, parents and employees know the major changes that will occur.
January 13 - 7:00 p.m. - Regular Board Meeting: The primary focus of this meeting will be to begin making decisions about the reductions that must occur. The Board may begin to take action this evening on primary cuts. We may very well see discussions extending into February.
We have recently received some questions about the cost of Vision_Tek..... Is this a program that should be cut?
Closing Vision_Tek will not save the district any money. The USD #400 Board of Education is working to examine all
aspects of the budget and reviewing all programs and services offered for our
students. “We are spending a great deal
of time determining how we are going to balance the 2014-15 budget.”
As the Board works to set priorities for the next school
year, one area that will not be cut is Vision_Tek. The building has proven to be a major benefit
to the district, not only by serving students and the community, but it also
produces considerable revenue for Smoky Valley.
The district does not require that programs such as
Industrial Arts, Family and Consumer Science or Music produce revenue enough to
sustain their programs. These programs
are put in place because they are good for our children. Vision_Tek is also producing amazing results
for a large number of SV students in the area of technology. But unlike any of the other district
services, it does produce enough revenue to benefit the district and keep the
building operating without financially taxing the budget.
- The Virtual Charter School is also located in Vision_Tek. The district’s charter school has always produced enough revenue from its enrollment to pay all expenses. All charter monies must be spent in the charter school. The additional revenue from the charter school provides for staff, utility expenses and shared equipment for Vision_Tek. This year the state funding for SVVCS will generate $340,431 based on an FTE of 83.2.
- Vision_Tek serves 75-80 students. Most students generate Career and Technical Education (CTE) dollars because the course meets the state approved guidelines. The district will receive from $17,644 in CTE funding.
- Memberships and evening class offerings have produced over $3,300 last year. We anticipate continued community involvement in our services.
- Vision_Tek has been named an Apple Authorized Service Provider. This means that our current Apple Certified Service Technicians will be reimbursed at a much higher rate from Apple for each warranted repair on our own machines, as well as public machines. In order to maintain this status, we must have a storefront downtown. We currently provide for hundreds of repairs each year. This easily translates into $25,000-30,000 additional dollars annually. The actual cost savings to the district is even higher in this area because of our Apple status. We receive equipment purchase credits (rather than a direct check) on every warranted repair, saving us several thousand additional dollars annually.
Unfortunately many of our programs will be threatened with
cuts and reductions because of the State’s economic situation. Cutting the Vision_Tek program will not save
the district money. The losers would be
the students, the community and the district budget. Closing the facility would force us to cut
something else in order to make up for the lost revenue that the center
The Marquette Tribune said "Closing MES Has Been Proposed".... Is That True?
No, it is not true. Superintendent Suppes discussed several major cuts that must be considered at the next board meeting. Additional information will be presented on January 13. Glen Suppes did comment that he would have a proposal for the board, that could include several staff cuts or possibly closing MES. No official proposal was presented to the board. Here are the official December 9, 2013 Board minutes
Governor to Support Kindergarten Funding Phase-in
So how serious is the budget situation for our district?
The Governor, with support of the legislature, has placed school districts across the state in the most devastating financial situation in the history of the state. You have certainly been reading in the daily news of the drastic cuts to education, as well as other state services. After the recession, Governor Brownback implemented the largest cut to personal income tax, in an effort to bring about economic growth. Income tax is the most relied upon tax for Kansas. This move has brought about major concerns to all factions of state services, especially K-12 education. And many argue that this was an extremely detrimental move by Governor Brownback. Some legislators and advocate groups argue that Kansas has selected a direct path to financial bankruptcy.
So what exactly are we talking about in terms of dollars that need to be cut?
After consideration of our current situation, expenditures and anticipated budget for FY'15, the Board of Education has anticipated that a minimum of $379,500 must be cut from the budget for next year. Some would argue that the number is much higher than that. In either case, this becomes a daunting task. Adding in the spending down of the contingency reserve fund, the board has cut nearly 1 million dollars over the past 3 years. Our students HAVE been affected, and additional cuts will certainly be devastating. This is not just another "tighten your belts"; this is SERIOUS business.
The Smoky Valley Board of Education began official budget discussions on November 11 with a budget work session. Discussion continued with a Special Board Meeting on November 26, devoted entirely on budget planning for next year, and digging deeper into the root cause of lack of state funding.
Based upon the anticipated loss of the Local Option Budget equalization along with declining enrollment, rising costs, and decreasing federal and state funds, the Board is faced with a challenging situation of balancing the budget for 2014-15. Budget talks will continue at the regular meeting on January 13, 2014.
This past week Duane Goossen reported that lawmakers have not budgeted enough to fund our CURRENT budget. You can read the detailed article in the "What's in the News" section of this wiki. If legislators do not come up with a way to fund the additional money, we will lose over $37,000 in this budget year. Here we go again!!!! And we wonder why schools are making devastating cuts across the state.