Wichita Board: We’ll Take More

If you live in Wichita, your taxes just went up.

“The Wichita school board Monday unanimously approved a 2007-08 budget that will raise the property tax rate by 2 mills.

[snip]

“The $516 million budget includes money for teachers to receive a 4 percent raise — a move the administration said would not be possible without raising the tax rate.

The new budget represents a 6.4 percent increase over last year’s $485 million.

[snip]

“Nearly 67 percent of the budget is state money. Wichita schools will receive roughly $18 million in new state revenue for 2007-08 as part of a three-year, statewide school finance plan. Last year’s total state funding was about $258.1 million.

So how did this come about?

“the board voted to raise Wichita’s local property tax, known as the local option budget, from its current level — 27 percent of the district’s general fund — to 30 percent, the highest it can be raised without a public vote.”

Did anyone speak out against the increase?

“The board heard from representatives of the teachers and staff unions, United Teachers of Wichita and Service Employees International, both of which support the proposed budget, and both of which recently ratified contracts that the board approved Monday.”

Any surprises there, given that they ratified the contract?

Or here?

“Karl Peterjohn of the anti-tax group Kansas Taxpayers Network spoke against the budget, saying that in neighboring states such an increase would have been subject to a public vote.”

But without the requirement for a public vote, the tax rates are going up–despite the state’s recent performance.

On the other hand, the Dodge City school system passed a budget without a tax increase.

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