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BOE looks at current budget, considers getting approval to raise LOB

BOE looks at current budget, considers getting approval to raise LOB

LOB information sheet The Board of Education heard an update on the current year budget during its February 11 meeting, as they begin to plan for next year’s budget.

Read the BOE Presentation

Watch the BOE presentation.

Chief Financial Officer Susan Willis said the planning process for next year’s budget has started, such as estimating next year’s fixed cost increases, which include increases in insurance and utilities. The budget will be created with priorities that support the WPS Strategic Plan.  Some of the investments that were made for the 2018-19 budget include reopening Towne East Learning Center, more learning center support at the high schools, opening Bryant Opportunity Academy and the increased salary structure.

Willis said there are still challenges to next year’s budget planning on the state level.  The district’s local option budget, or LOB, is currently at 30% of the general fund. The BOE could consider the option of increasing the LOB to 33% of the general fund, which could generate up to $126 million annually. 

If BOE decided to raise the LOB, it is required to notify the Kansas Board of Education by April 1 for approval. If the district received the authority to increase the LOB, it is not required to do so. The authority would give the BOE another option if it was ever needed.

“Asking to raise the LOB percentage is equivalent to being pre-approved for a loan before buying a car. When you’re shopping for a car it’s nice to know you can buy one because you’re already pre-approved. You don’t have to buy the car, but it’s nice to know you could,” Willis said.

LOB Option Fact Sheet

If the BOE decided to raise the LOB, the additional funds would be used to support fixed costs, new positions and compensation. The mill levy would go up 1.6 mills, which equals to about $18 on a $100,000 house.

The BOE will vote whether or not to publish a resolution asking to increase the LOB authority on February 25.