State funding remains a mystery for local school
by Clarke Davis
The Legislature is playing games with funding for education to the point that nothing is predictable even this late in the game.
That is what Superintendent Loren Feldkamp told the board of education at Valley Falls Monday night.
“We’re trying to stay informed but there is no way to monitor what is happening,” he said.
The most alarming thing for Feldkamp is the drive by some legislators to force schools to spend all reserve until every cent is exhausted.
“That is no way to run a school or a business,” he said. “Where would we be as a school district if we had not responsibly monitored our contingency reserve and local option budget funds?”
Feldkamp believes it is an effort to push school funding onto the backs of local taxpayers “at an alarming degree.” He noted the great disparity in doing that when one compares what a mill will raise in Delaware Township when compared to Johnson County.
The four women board members—President Jody Lockhart, Carrie Belveal, Sharon Sweeeney, and Heidi Pickerell—made up the quorum for the monthly meeting.
John Kearney, of Kearney & Son Construction, gave the board a rough estimate on the cost of a vestibule and said he would acquire at least three bids on the various aspects of the project.
His estimates were $42,000 and $72,000 depending on the length of the project. The largest figure would provide a cover over the stairs and walkway nearly the entire length of the building to shed rain and snow. Kearney served as the project manager for the new school addition.
The board will wait until it has a more clear picture of the cost of other projects on the table and the amount of money available in capital outlay before proceeding.
The board approved advertising for a part-time aide to assist in the music department.
Board members were handed an update on summer projects that had previously been approved. They range from renovation of a couple of high school classrooms and the new art room in the industrial arts building to numerous upgrades in technology.
The board approved a new contract for school nursing services with the Jefferson County Health Department. The contract totals $9,472 or an increase of $1,335 more than the current year. Feldkamp was highly praiseworthy of the department’s services.
Also approved were annual dues for the Kansas Association of School Boards that now costs $4,950 a year plus another $1,400 for legal assistance.
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