OLATHE, Cannes – In an effort to balance the books, Olata School District will cut staff jobs and cut about $ 20 million from next year’s budget
According to a press release issued by the district, budget challenges stemmed from declining registrants, declining tax revenues and rising operating costs brought about by the plague.
More than a dozen library clerk positions have been canceled in middle and high schools for the 2022-2023 school year. Earlier this month the county announced it Close the Olathe Virtual School (OVS) at the end of the year.
It is not clear what the full extent of the budget cut will be, but school officials say all schools and departments across the county will be affected.
Despite years of steady growth, schools in Ulata have seen a decline in enrollment during the epidemic. The district recorded a decline of about 3.5% (1,055 students) in 2020. To date, the district has recovered about half of these students, with enrollment in the fall of 2021 standing at 29,794 students.
As a result, the county plans to cut about 6 percent of next year’s annual operating budget.
Extraordinary growth fund
Declining tax revenues also plays a large role in the county’s need to tighten its budget.
A school district can apply to the Board of Appeals for Tax Appeals (BOTA) to collect additional property taxes to help fund the cost of operating a new school building through the Extraordinary Growth Fund.
Money collected through the property tax mill levy is issued to school districts upon the opening of new schools. The amount of funding received by a district is weighted according to the cost of operating the building. The amount of funding will steadily decrease over a set period of time.
According to Johnson County tax records, the extraordinary growth fund rate for Oathe Schools dropped from 7.8 in 2018 to 6.1 in 2021.
$ 233 The U.S. has built three new schools in the past five years: Olathe West High School, Summit Trail Middle School and Canyon Creek Elementary School.
Despite the support in $ 298 million worth of bonds to replace Santa Fe Trailers middle school, The county has no plans to build new schools in the near future. That means soon the county will stop receiving money from the growth fund. The growth money is expected to decrease by about $ 7 million for the academic year 2022-2023.
During the Education Council meeting on March 3, Deputy Superintendent John Hutchison said BOTA funds would continue to decline over the next six years.
“We finished last year [with a] $ 7 million impact on our reserves. We have a lower number. We lost weight at risk. This is going to be a challenging year for our budget, “Hutchison said.
The district staff plans to recommend to the school council development goals and outline a budget for the 2022-2023 budget during the next regular meeting on April 7th.
The draft budget for 2022-2023 is expected later this summer, with the board finalizing the budget in September.
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