Marion school board approves budget after reviewing options

The Marion-Florence Board of Education approved the 2011-12 budget at its Aug. 15 meeting.

The budget hearing took place before the regularly scheduled meeting and paved the way to the 6-1 decision in favor of adopting the budget.

Board vice-president Sarah Cope cast the lone ?no? vote.

Superintendent Lee Leiker led the board in a detailed review of the proposed budget, and addressed some of the challenges surrounding the district.

?In the last five years, we?ve had a continual decline in our student enrollments,? Leiker said. ?This student data is important because a lot of our budget is based on the number of students that we have.?

The state aid per student also took a hit this year, he said, dropping to $3,780 per student.

Factoring in enrollment weighting, Leiker reported this year?s general fund budget to be roughly $4.4 million.

The maximum amount the district can collect for the local option budget is about $1.5 million, but the district will only collect $950,000.

?Since the local option budget is funded largely by local taxes, the board has done everything possible not to increase taxes in these difficult economic times,? Leiker said.

Another challenge reflected in the budget is the district?s assessed valuation and the mill levy.

Each mill generates a dollar amount based on the assessed valuation and if the value declines, the mill generates less, he said. The mill rate on the local option budget was increased from last year by nearly 3 mills but only amounted to a $14,000 gain.

?This hurts,? Leiker said. ?Last spring, (the BOE was) really thinking that a mill would generate $26,000 to $28,000, but the decrease in our assessed valuation has changed what the mill does?we didn?t gain a lot by increasing taxes.?

Lastly, board members were presented with the distribution of the projected revenue.

Other business

In other business, the board:

? voted unanimously to increase the base salary for all teachers by $500. For all salary personnel who do not fit under the negotiated agreement, the board approved an increase of $500.

Classified staff will also benefit from an approved increase of 25 cents.

? board members took action on implementing direct deposit for all district payrolls. ?One of the goals I?ve had is to get us to direct deposit,? Leiker said. ?We?re one of very few districts that have paper checks.? The motion was approved by all members.

? reviewed USD 408?s drug and alcohol policy. Members discussed how effective random drug testing has been, and whether or not the policy should remain.

Board members resolved to conduct further research, and will revisit this topic in next month?s meeting.

? approved the contract with the Kansas Association of School Boards to conduct a policy review for USD 408. According to Leiker, the district has not had a policy review for more than 10 years and the process would cost about $6,000. ?I think it?s a good investment,? said Leiker.

? approved hiring Jane King as part-time nurse.

? approved a bus request for ?Art in the Park,? in September.

? accepted Jagger Miller as an out-of-district student.

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