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School board to consider increasing capital-outlay authority

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, June 8, 2014, at 1:31 p.m.

Wichita school board members on Monday will consider a resolution allowing the board to increase its capital outlay property tax authority.

Officials say the proposal, prompted by school-finance changes approved by state lawmakers this spring, would not set the mill levy. It only would raise the district’s capital-outlay authority from 7 mills to 8 mills.

“The decision on whether or not to raise it (the mill levy) will come during budget development discussions” later this summer, said district spokeswoman Susan Arensman.

During previous presentations to board members, Jim Freeman, the district’s chief financial officer, explained that the Legislature expanded how capital outlay funds could be used.

In the past, for example, capital outlay money could be used to buy computers and cars but not computer software or tires. Now those items can be purchased from the fund, Freeman said. The board must approve the resolution to take advantage of looser restrictions on the fund, he said.

A school-funding bill signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in April was the Legislature’s response to a state Supreme Court order to fix inequities in school funding before July 1. It allocates about $130 million to close gaps in the capital outlay fund and the local option budget fund, drawn from local property taxes.

Wichita expects to receive about $3.5 million in additional capital outlay funds – money that can be used on capital projects, facility maintenance and technology, but not for teacher salaries.

Also on Monday, board members will hear from Anthony Ritz, a math and AVID elective teacher at Southeast High School, who was selected to speak at AVID’s Dallas Summer Institute. AVID – Advancement Via Individual Determination – is an international program that prepares at-risk students for college.

The Wichita school board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the North High lecture hall, 1437 Rochester.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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