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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Renewal of the Building & Site Sinking Fund (BSSF)

School finances can be a bit confusing. We have four major funds we manage:
- the General Fund which has most of our money and covers most our expenses
- the BSSF, which is used to maintain existing buildings and buy new property
- the Bond Fund, which is used to build the new schools
- the Debt Reduction Fund, which we use to pay our long term debts.
The Enhancement Millage, which is collected for us through KRESA, goes into our general fund.

The decision to put the BSSF Millage up for a renewal election is an important decision. Bottom line, the taxpayers will decide if this funding should be renewed. In preparation, we need to give due diligence to our decision to present it to the taxpayers for a vote and be fully prepared to answer questions from our public. Since the motion to put this issue on the November ballot failed, we will likely be considering it for the May election.

In preparing our due diligence, here are some of the key questions:
-If the BSSF is renewed, what is the specific plan for how this money would be spent?
-Will our community need us to ask for a little less, or can we provide a plan that justifies requesting a little more?
-If we increase transparency as to how monies are spent, would we gain approval more easily?
-Review the overall tax basis for the schools and provide a summary plan:
o When will the 18 mills non-homestead tax need to be renewed?
o Will we ask to renew the Enhancement Millage, if so, when and for how much?
o How has the Enhancement money been spent and how would future $ be spent?
o What is the projection for the Bond Debt millage collection schedule?
o What impact will declining property values have on the millage rates?
o What impact will declining tax collections have on the millage rates & our planned expenditures?
o When do we plan to ask for more Building Bond funds? A long-term building plan would be nice.
o Do we know of additional millage requests coming from KRESA?
-How will we pay for technology replacements in 3 to 5 years?
-Charts with timing and numbers would be helpful for understanding.

I hope all this discussion will fit in our three to five year Financial Planning we have yet to do, but are planning to do. I realize we can’t KNOW everything, but we can take our best shot at a plan that helps our taxpayers understand that we are thinking long term and not just asking for more money.

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