Lawrence Public Schools

USD 497

School Finance Feedback

desk with an apple, money, gavel and paper, pencil and eraser
In 2015, the Kansas Legislature repealed the 1992 school finance formula and replaced it with a block-grant system for two years. The block-grant system expires in 2017, so the Legislature will be developing a new funding system in the upcoming legislative session. The previous finance formula included three key components: 
1. General Operating Funds
Funding was based on a "weighted" per-pupil formula and adjusted for districts' enrollments based on cost factors, such as low socio-economic status, special needs and a low enrollment in a district.
2.  Local Option Budget (LOB), also called Supplemental General Fund
This provides districts the option to levy additional taxes (up to 33% of the General Operating Fund) locally to enhance the General Operating Fund.
3. Equalization Formulas
These ensure property tax levies charged at local levels for LOBs, capital outlay funds and debt service funds are comparable, regardless of a district's wealth.
So, what was wrong with the old formula? It depends on who you ask. Some say nothing, had the state adequately funded it. Others say it was too complicated or that it lacked flexibility, predictability and/or accountability.
Thanks to staff and community feedback, the Lawrence Board of Education has determined its school funding formula priorities and will provide this input to the Governor, Kansas Legislature and the Kansas Association of School Boards.
You may provide input directly to the Governor's Office by emailing StudentsFirst@ks.gov by November 30, 2016. 
For additional information about how school district funding is determined and spent, we suggest reviewing a series of articles called  "Key Facts about Kansas Education" by the Kansas Association of School Boards.
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