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Wichita school board’s vote frees funds for additional purposes

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, June 9, 2014, at 8:27 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at 12:06 a.m.

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The Wichita school board voted Monday to increase its capital outlay property tax authority to take advantage of looser restrictions on the fund.

The resolution, approved unanimously, raises the district’s capital outlay authority from 7 mills to 8 mills. It does not increase the capital outlay mill levy itself, which currently is set at 4.25 mills.

Jim Freeman, chief financial officer for Wichita schools, said the resolution was necessary to take advantage of a change in state law that allows districts to use capital outlay funds for additional purposes, such as computer software.

“For us to be able to spend the money in different ways, this resolution would need to be passed,” Freeman said. “This … gives us the opportunity to move some expenses out of the general fund into capital outlay to free up the general fund for other purposes.”

Freeman also presented an update and schedule for the board’s budget process, which begins soon.

Board members will get their first official look at the 2014-15 budget on July 21. On July 28, the board will set a public hearing date to collect input and feedback on the proposed budget.

The district must pass its budget by Aug. 25, Freeman said.

Board member Lynn Rogers supported increasing the capital outlay mill levy authority, saying it doesn’t mean the board will raise the mill levy.

“I’m very comfortable doing this at 8 (mills), knowing that we may never even use it,” Rogers said. “I like the fact that we can add the software and other expenses. That gives us some freedom.”

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

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