Thursday, April 3, 2014

USD 383 Board of Education

March 26, 2014
Kathy Dzewaltowski, observer

Carol Adams, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, reported that teachers and students have been experiencing problems and glitches in attempting to take online state assessments.  The problems are with the source of the testing and are not something the district can address.  These particular assessments are a pilot program and won't affect accreditation.

John Armbrust, Governor's Military Council, provided the board with a report on Ft. Riley.  Armbrust said that the BRAC process (Base Re-Alignment and Closure) may happen again, with 2017 being the earliest that it would occur.  The quality of local schools is one factor that the BRAC evaluates, so Armbrust advised the board to continue to make USD 383 a quality school district.  Armbrust also said the U.S. Army will be downsizing, which may result in the loss of 1,200 positions at Ft. Riley.  He said that deployments may also slow down, so the loss of 1,200 positions may not have a significant impact on USD 383.

Lew Faust, Director of Business Services, provided the board with information about the impact the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling may have on USD 383.  The decision had two main parts:  one addressing equity, and the other addressing adequacy.  The adequacy portion was remanded to district court for further evaluation.  The equity portion stated that there are wealth-based disparities in capital outlay funds and the supplemental general fund, and the Legislature was given until July 1st to determine how to correct the disparities.  USD 383 does not receive any capital outlay equity funding, so that will have no impact on the district.  USD 383 could potentially receive $386,000 in equalization funding for the supplemental general fund, which would offset the amount generated by local taxes and allow for a reduction in the mill levy.

Faust also reported that a House bill that was introduced would fully fund the equity requirements, but it also would reduce funding in other areas.  A change in the formula for funding transportation will result in a reduction of 15%.  At-risk funding would not be provided for students over 19, which will impact the district's programs that allow older students to return and complete their diplomas.  The bill also does not mention funding for all-day kindergarten, which had been an initiative of the governor.  The net impact on the district will be that the supplemental general mill levy will be able to be reduced, but the district will lose funding for at-risk students and for transportation.

For budget planning purposes, the board received a list of facility maintenance projects, which included items such as roof work, playground resurfacing, new carpeting, etc.

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