The Garden City USD 457 Board of Education on Monday discussed the the district’s upcoming budget approval process.
District Financial Officer KJ Knoll briefed the board on the budget process. Two weeks ago, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Legislature’s proposed school finance plan was still inadequate and gave lawmakers another year to make necessary changes.
Knoll said the ruling made no changes in funding for the previous or upcoming school year for USD 457 and that schools will move forward with state legislation passed in the spring. While the district usually receives budget forms from the state near the beginning of June, she expects mid-July this year, putting a time crunch on the budget approval process ahead of the new school year’s kickoff in mid-August.
As is routine, Knoll told the board the district will present members with the budget in a three-step process, breaking down, requesting permission to publish and approving the budget in three separate board meetings. She said she hopes to have the budget proposal ready by the board’s next meeting on July 23.
In the meantime, she said, she will attend a Kansas State Department of Education budget workshop at Horace Good Middle School next Tuesday. If the district receives budget forms shortly after the workshop, she expects the process will move forward on schedule.
USD 457 Superintendent Steve Karlin said Knoll was working hard under tight circumstances and told the board if Knoll encountered unexpected information or hiccups from the state after receiving the budget forms, it may slightly delay the process.
Knoll told the board that the state school finance legislation also had delayed teacher contract negotiations, which will begin this week.
“Typically, we would like to know what our funding is going to be much earlier in the year so we can complete negotiations with teachers and have a contract voted on before teachers left. That’s what we normally like to do. But not knowing if there was going to be a change in funding, we haven’t been able to get that far in the process yet,” Knoll said.
Also at the meeting, Garden City High School life skills instructor Paul Lappin proposed a biennial out-of-state trip for students in his classes, largely funded by the school’s incredibly successful Buffalo Coffee Shop, which is run by his students.
The shop has not only been profitable, but given students an opportunity to give back to their community, Lappin said. He said that over the past two years, the shop has donated more than $17,000 to local organizations, fully funded life skills classroom activities and maintains a current balance of more than $31,000 in profits.
Lappin suggested using the money, and the shop’s remaining money in the future, to fund a large end-of-year trip for students in the class who hit certain academic and behavioral requirements during the year, acting as both a year-long incentive and an engaging, new experience.
The trips, if approved by the board at its next meeting, will take place every other year, giving all students passing through Lappin’s classes an opportunity to attend while still allowing the class to donate the shop’s proceeds on off-years. Several parents of Lappin’s class attended the meeting, offering their support.
All board members except Dana Nanninga and Jennifer Standley were present.
The board elected Mark Rude as board president and Nanninga as board vice president, effective immediately. The motion to elect Rude passed unanimously, but board member Lara Bors abstained from the vote to elect Nanninga. Member Jean Clifford nominated both Rude and Nanninga, with seconds from board members Tim Hanigan and Tim Cruz, respectively.