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USD 410 withdraws from lawsuit

Staff writer

USD 410 Board of Education unanimously voted Monday to withdraw from Schools for Fair Funding, a group of school districts suing the state over school funding.

Superintendent Steve Noble reiterated his stance that the state legislature is responsible for continued improvement in education. The 1-percent state sales tax increase only prevented more cuts to school funding, he said.

Students deserve a world-class education, even during a recession, Noble said.

“I think we would be disappointed, Steve, if that wasn’t your position,” board member Rod Koons said.

The results of Aug. 3 primaries were a good sign for school funding advocates, Noble said. Only one legislator who voted in favor of the sales tax increase was defeated.

Furthermore, every district will reap the benefits if the lawsuit is successful, not only the districts in the lawsuit, Noble noted.

Koons said many constituents spoke with him about the district’s membership in Schools for Fair Funding, possibly more than any other issue during his time on the board. None of them supported continued membership in the group, but they weren’t angry or confrontational, he said.

“I would not be able to vote ‘yes’ today at all,” Koons said.

Koons made the motion to withdraw from Schools for Fair Funding.

If the district remained in Schools for Fair Funding, dues would have cost the district $1,864, only $699 of which would have gone toward litigation. However, the money wasn’t the issue, Koons said.

The board voted Oct. 14 to join Schools for Fair Funding, which sought to reopen earlier litigation over funding. After the Kansas Supreme Court declined to reopen the earlier case, the group filed a new lawsuit June 16.

Budget likely to be lower than published

The district will publish a budget that calls for a 9.64-percent property tax increase, but a smaller increase is likely.

The published budget would represent the district raising the levy to the maximum the district can tax. School districts’ taxing authority is limited by the state.

Cuts to capital outlay funds could reduce the levy more than four mills. The levy for the 2009-10 school year was 58.502 mills.

The board will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 18 for a budget hearing and goal-setting session.

In other business:

  • Vince Jantz of Jantz Construction, Inc. estimates remodeling the current Midway Motors building into a district office will cost $273,152. That estimate calls for completely gutting the building and restarting from the empty frame. The project will be sent out for bids when it is ready. Jantz said he tried to include a 5-percent buffer in his estimate.
  • Marion County Special Education Cooperative ended the fiscal year with about $500,000 carry-over.
  • Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members Emily Hoskinson and Ashlyn Simmons recounted how the family and consumer sciences quiz bowl team placed third at National Leadership Conference in Chicago.
  • Technology Student Association members Aaron Slater, Meghan Leihy, and Allison Troyer spoke about their experiences at national conference in Baltimore.
  • Middle school special education teacher Anne Janzen is nominated for a Kansas Teacher of the Year award, Hillsboro Middle School Principal Greg Brown said.
  • Kansas State High School Activities Association has introduced a new form to educate parents on the dangers and signs of concussions. High School Principal Max Heinrichs said concussions aren’t limited to football. Volleyball and basketball are also high risks for concussions.
  • Collette Haslett will be an assistant high school volleyball coach.
  • Jill Hein and Janet Whisenhunt will sponsor GAP, also known as the culture club.
  • Tabor College will use three school buses for four days to transport football players to Morningstar Ranch and one bus at homecoming. The college will pay $1 per mile for buses and $20 per hour for drivers.
  • The district will supply buses during Arts and Crafts Fair on Sept. 18 at actual cost to shuttle people from Marion County Fairgrounds to downtown Hillsboro.
  • The district is seeking someone to buy or take an old grand piano that has tuning problems. It has been replaced with a digital piano.

Last modified Aug. 11, 2010

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