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Capital outlay change takes effect, could ease budget woes

7/13/2014

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

A recently approved change in capital outlay expenditures could help with the Hays USD 489 budget crunch.

The USD 489 Board of Education passed a modified capital outlay fund resolution in June to extend five years. The modified resolution was approved by state legislators, and is effective for the 2015 fiscal year.

"What this allows is for other expenditures to come out of capital outlay next year," Superintendent Dean Katt said at the special meeting called to pass the resolution.

Before the change, the district used the fund supported by local taxes, for leases for technology, business equipment, buses and other facilities such as Lewis Field, maintenance salaries, architectural services and building construction and repairs.

The modified resolution allows school districts who approve it to use capital outlay money for school and district property maintenance, equipment maintenance, buying and leasing software and performance uniforms for choir, band, athletics and theatrical costumes.

"It gives you an option," Katt said. "I'm not saying if you pass the resolution tonight that this is what we're going to do."

"What this would allow flexibility for is, if utilities would skyrocket, at the end of the year we could say, 'OK now we're going to take the price of tires out of capital outlay instead of general fund,' " said Tracy Kaiser, USD 489 business manager.

"I like the amount of flexibility," board member Josh Waddell said.

"It isn't an increase in the mill levy right now. We're assessing eight mills," Katt said.

Total estimated capital outlay revenue for 2014-15 is $3.575 million.

Expenses for leases for business machines, other facilities, two Hays Middle School additions and Hays High School baseball astroturf; maintenance salaries, benefits, overtime and workers compensation and miscellaneous improvements are estimated at approximately $2.64 million.

The change will be effective unless county election officer Donna Maskus receives a petition in opposition signed by 10 percent of the qualified voters within 40 days of the last publication date, which was June 26.