Shawnee Mission board of education forwards $468 million budget for 2017-18 school year

Jay Senter - August 11, 2017 7:37 am
Chief Financial Office Russell Knapp presented the budget to the board of education Thursday.
Chief Financial Office Russell Knapp presented the budget to the board of education Thursday.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education on Thursday approved a motion to publish its proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year, a plan that would have it spend $467,820,994 through the end of next June.

Under the new state K-12 funding formula passed by the legislature earlier this summer, Shawnee Mission will see an additional $14.2 million in revenue from state aid and the local option budget, which comes from taxes assessed directly on Shawnee Mission patrons. The district will see $167,331,021 in general state aid, and $63,097,534 in supplemental general revenue from the LOB. Those general funds are what the district can use to pay for day-to-day operating expenses, including staff compensation.

Precisely how those general operating funds will be allocated, however, is still in process. District administrators and representatives of the National Education Association – Shawnee Mission have yet to finalize a teachers’ contract for the coming school year, coming to a stalemate after several hours of negotiations Wednesday.

No members of the administration or board addressed the status of the negotiations with the teachers union at Thursday’s meeting, but Tiffany Johnson, a district parent associated with the group Education First Shawnee Mission, used the open forum to lobby for the district to accept the teachers’ latest proposal, which called for a 4.75 percent base increase across the salary schedule, and for the district to pay an additional $48 per employee per month in medical insurance costs.

“I know there are constraints in the district, but I would just like for the board, the administration to do whatever they can do to support the teachers request for a raise and the package as they offered as their final position,” Johnson said, noting that she worked at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and that employees there have not received raises in years. “I can attest to how demoralizing that is.”

The district’s 2017-18 budget also features nearly two dozen special revenue categories, which include funds that are allocated to specific uses or programming. Among those categories is the capital outlay budget, which can be used for facilities construction and improvements. This year’s capital outlay budget is $58,274,105. Much of the capital outlay budget is funded through the proceeds of bonds that district voters approved issuing with a mail-in ballot vote in 2015.

Under the block grant bill, which locked in certain categories of state funding for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, the district had total budgets of $457,884,068 and $431,250,467, respectively.

Chief Financial Officer Russell Knapp, who presented the budget to the board Thursday, noted that property valuations, which factor into the amount of local option budget tax proceeds the district receives, had increased significantly from last year to this year.

The motion to publish the budget is a procedural move required before the board can officially adopt it as required by state law later this month. The board will meet again Thursday, August 24 to hold a public hearing on the budget and vote to approve it.


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