Johnson County School District No. 1 has managed to keep their budget in good shape so far this year, but due to a change in the funding model from the state, the district could see budgetary problems this year and/or in the very near future.
That is according to the district's Business Manager Matt Ramey, who gave a report on the situation to the school board Monday night.
The problem is with a few “recapture districts” and “bubble districts” that have been affected by the new rules passed down by the State Legislature.
Recapture districts take in more tax revenue locally than they are allotted by the state and must return all but their guaranteed amount to the state and those funds are distributed to other “entitlement districts” which take in less in local tax revenue than their state allotment to them. “Bubble districts” are those that take in about the same as their state allotment.
Ramey explained that Johnson County, as a “recapture district,” takes in more tax revenue than their $19.5 million guarantee and must return all funds over that amount to the state.
The recent change by the Legislature in the timing in funding payments from the state and recapture payments back to the state means the local district may have times during the school year when they are short on funds, or may not be able to make their recapture payments on time.
He gave a few scenarios that, with some changes in statutes from the Legislature, would make budgeting more secure throughout each fiscal year, at least for the Johnson County School District.
Ramey and Superintendent Dr. Rod Kessler told the board they intend to present their findings to State Senator Johns Schiffer and State Representative Mike Madden to try to bring about change in the Legislature, and they made a request of the board for support on the matter.
Kessler explained his concerns.
The board approved drafting a letter of concern to the Department of Education outlining the district's findings and the possible problems with the funding model.