Auburn Washburn School District approves vote on budget increase

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Residents who live in the Auburn Washburn school district will get a chance to decide if the district should raise its local options budget, or LOB, to offset cuts made to education in the next two years.

USD 437 Board of Education unanimously approved to issue a mail in ballot asking residents living in the Auburn Washburn school district if they would like to raise the local option budget.

Funds for the LOB are typically raised through property taxes.

This means that an owner of a $200,000 home will pay an additional $64.63 annually, or simply put, they will pay $5.39 more a month.

“To raise the LOB from 30 percent to 33 percent,” said Brenda Dietrich, USD 437 superintendent. “So it is really now up to the patrons to decide if that is acceptable. If they can tolerate that or not.”

In March, state lawmakers scrapped the states K-12 formula, and replaced it with a block grant system for the next two years.

The district is expected to lose thousands of dollars’ worth of state aid next year.

The continued cuts made to education is something that parents living in the district worry about.

“It just makes me nervous as far as what they will cut back on and if it will affect the kids’ education or not,” said Chaba Dial, a concerned parent.

Other options the school district is considering is charging parents $50 per month for full-time kindergarten, and charging students a fee to ride the bus if they live less than 2.5 miles away from school.

Lawmakers says this a consequence due to the governor’s failed economic budget.

“We knew from the very beginning that this is what was going to happen, and we have been talking about it for three years now, and I think finally the public is catching on,” said Sen. Laura Kelly, (D) Minority Whip.

As for as USD 437, they just want some input from the 26,000 plus registered voters in their district.

The special elections mail-in ballot is to be issued by June 16th.

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