Budget and Finance FAQ

Students Building with Blocks
How does federal funding support local special education costs?

When the special education legislation (IDEA) was initially passed, the federal government pledged to pay 40% of the excess costs of educating special education students. The federal government is currently paying 16-17%. 

How can the district purchase equipment or refurbish buildings while operating funds are limited?

State law places restrictions on the amount of operating funds a district can spend. This restriction is part of an equalization plan for all districts in the state. Currently state law does not place these restrictions on capital purchases.

How are capital purchases made?

The district has a capital outlay fund that is supported by local property taxes. This fund allows the district to purchase educational equipment and make repairs to buildings according to an established replacement cycle. These funds are typically not large enough for major renovations or reconstruction.

What other source does the district have for capital purchases?

With voter approval, the district can issue general obligation bonds. The bonds are sold to investors with the proceeds being used by the district for construction projects. The district repays the bonds and accumulated interest as they become due. Typically the bonds are issued for 20-year terms. The bond and interest fund is used to pay the bond and interest payments. This fund is supported by local tax revenue. The district is required to set the tax rate at a level that will generate enough tax revenue to make the bond payments.  During a bond campaign, district officials estimate the additional tax rate requirement.

What is the local option budget (LOB)?

State law prescribes a maximum general fund expenditure amount for each district. The only local flexibility under the current finance plan is the local option budget. It provides up to 33% more for districts. The LOB budget amount is computed by multiplying the approved LOB percentage times the general fund budget prescribed by state law. Shawnee Mission has 33% authority. When the current formula was put in place in 1992, state lawmakers set the general fund amount so low that Shawnee Mission used its full 25% authority in the first few years.

What does the term full-time equivalent (FTE) student mean?

State law requires the district to adjust the number of students based upon the portion of the day services are offered to the students. If a kindergarten student attends only half a day, the state only reimburses for half of day and the student has an FTE of 1/2. Another example is a high school student that is enrolled for five of the seven periods. This student would have an FTE of 5/7.