HOISINGTON — The USD 431 Board of Education approved last Monday, in a 5-2 vote, Resolution 2013-10 to authorize the possibility of a mill levy from the Capital Outlay Fund up to eight mills.
The Capital Outlay Fund is used for the acquisition, construction, reconstruction and furnishing and equipping buildings necessary for educational purposes in a school operated under the board, including the acquisition of building sites. It could also be used for the maintenance of asbestos control projects, the acquisition of school buses, other equipment and payment on bonds authorized by K.S.A. 12-1774 for the financing of redevelopment projects on property located within the school district.
The Capital Outlay Fund can also be used for safety improvements to the schools. It is currently funded through transfer from the General Fund, interest on idle funds and rental income.
“It’s a tool that can be used for budget preparation,” said Superintendent Bill Lowry. “If there is a mill levy for capital outlay, it gives the board flexibility when preparing the budget if there is a need. It allows the board to determine if there is a need and how many mills are required to fund that need. This could change every year.”
He added that it takes six months to get approved and processed, but that it can go up and down annually or doesn’t have to be used.
There was a heated discussion amongst the BOE because the proposal could result in increased property taxes for residents. However, Lowry expressed concern that the Legislature may again cut education funding.
Council Member Dean Stoskopf was against the policy. He said, “My taxes have gone up every year because of assessed valuation of the district.”
Other council members were in agreement that no one wanted to see taxes go up. “This tool will be accessible if we need it. All we need to do is give ourselves this tool,” said Becky Mooney.
Residents have the opportunity to protest the tax levy authorized. If 10 percent of the qualified electors of the school district sign a petition that is filed with the Barton County election officer, this will be open to tax payer vote on the April ballot.
In order to avoid a special election which the district would have to pay for, the current vote would allow any protests to be filed before April,
Members voting for this were Steven Little, Becky Mooney, Debby Stephens, Kevin Stetler, Pat Kephart, and those against, Dean Stoskopf and Don Fisher.
In other business, the board members of the Hoisington Recreation Commission were present. Board members reported a successful year with over 20,000 people signed in to use the facility.
The trips have become very successful and the busses are nearly always filled for the trip, it was reported.
The Summer Recreation program has grown, but the cost is going down. The commission may consider having participants take field trips closer to this area.
In other business, the board heard:
•Safe Routes to School construction work began this week. It is supposed to be finished in 60 days.