School Finance History
During the 2017 legislative session, Senate Bill 19 The Kansas School Equity and Enhancement Act was passed and went into effect July 1, 2017. This bill essentially reinstated the weighting formula used prior to the "block grant" with changes made to the BASE and certain weightings. The bill established the BASE at $4,006 for 2017-18, $4,218 for 2018-19, and adjusted it each year thereafter according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). A notable provision in this bill is that all day kindergarten is counted as 1.0 FTE. The new formula is still subject to Kansas Supreme Court approval with arguments scheduled for May 2018.
On March 26, 2015, the Legislature passed legislation that repealed the current school finance formula and created the CLASS Act or better known as the “block grant” financing system. The block grant held school district’s funding at the 2014-15 level for 2015-16 and 2016-17. The CLASS Act expires on June 30, 2017. Special education statutes remain in place and were not changed.
The 2014 legislative session made minor changes to the weighted formula. BSAPP was increased to $3,852 and non-proficient at-risk and new facilities weightings were eliminated. In addition, the Kansas supreme court order the state to fund local option budget and capital outlay equalization state-aid at 100%. This does not provide districts with additional spending authority, however it does provide districts with local tax relief. A bill was passed allowing districts to raise the local option budget to a maximum of 33% for the 2014-15 school year by a vote of the local board of education. Shawnee Mission Board of Education voted to raise the LOB to 33% resulting in an additional $3.6 million in operating funding. Additionally, districts are required to hold a mail-in election to gain approval to maintain 33% for the 2015-16 school year and beyond. The election was held and passed in January 2015 to maintain the LOB at 33%.
The 2008 legislative session amended Kansas statute to provide for a BSAPP of $4,492 for fiscal year 2009-10 and each school year thereafter. The legislatures since 2008 has not adhered to this amount as the final BSAPP was decreased from $4,400 to $4,012, $3,937 and $3,780 in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively. The 2013-14 BSAPP was $3,838. There has been no significant changes or additions to the additional weighting factors by the legislature since 2007-08. The local option budget has remained at 31%. Shawnee Mission was able to receive additional funding as a result of a 2009 law authorizing school districts to calculate its local option budget using a BSAPP of $4,433 in any school year in which the BSAPP is less than that amount. Legislation in 2012 repealed a portion of a special education state aid formula that allowed Shawnee Mission to continue to calculate its local option budget on the special education appropriation for school year 2008-09. This was significant as it resulted in an additional $1.8 million in funding. Over four years, the lack of legislative action has reduced Shawnee Mission's funding significantly resulting in more than $25 million in budget reductions and increasing fees more than $1.2 million.
Significant increases were provided in the 2006 legislative session. The base state aid per pupil (BSAPP) was increased from $4,257 to $4,316 in fiscal year 2006-07 and was scheduled to increase to $4,374 and $4,433 in 2007-08 and 2008-09 respectively. The final 2008-09 BSAPP was $4,400. The at-risk weighting increased from 19.3 to 27.8% in 2006-07 and increased to 37.8 and 45.6% in 2007-08 and 2008-09 respectively. These weightings apply to students that are eligible for free lunch. Two additional at-risk weightings were added. The non-proficiency weighting provides additional funding for students that are not eligible for free lunch, yet are not proficient on reading and math assessments. Districts with a high density of students eligible for free lunch receive additional funding under the third at-risk category. The local option budget increased from 27 to 30% in 2006-07 and districts may increase to 31% in 2007-08 with a simple majority of voters in favor. The high enrollment weighting (previously called correlation weighting) decreased from 1,662 to 1,637 and 1,622 in 2006-07 and 2007-08 respectively. This provides additional funding to larger districts to offset a small portion of the funding gap between small/medium districts and medium/large districts. State special education funding was increased to reimburse (on average) 92% of the excess cost of special education. Although the state legislature provided these significant changes, Shawnee Mission continues to rank 267.
The 2005 legislative session produced the first significant revisions to the school finance formula since 1992. Several key components of the formula, including the base state aid and correlation weighting, as well as at-risk, bilingual, and special education weightings, were increased, with a total of $290 million distributed to school districts across the state. In addition, the legislature approved a three-year increase in the local option budget along with other locally funded provisions to offset declining enrollment and the high cost of living. Unfortunately, much of this new funding did not benefit Shawnee Mission substantially. While the available state average expenditure per pupil increased to $9,686 as a result of the changes in the formula, Shawnee Mission received approximately $15 million in state and local funding with per pupil spending limited to $6,757. The district remains in the bottom ten of the 300 districts in the state in operational funding.
With the passage of a new finance law in 1992, the Kansas Legislature established a system of statewide support funded by a uniform mill levy. Small districts were granted extra revenue in the form of low enrollment weighting. Districts, such as Shawnee Mission, that would have received a reduction of dollars under the new formula utilized a part of the law that allowed them to levy local property taxes to supplement state funding. To account for the disparity in property wealth, the supplemental, or local option budget (LOB), was subsidized by the state. The LOB was limited to no more than 25% of a district’s general fund budget.
Before 1992, the state school finance formula allowed districts to maintain their budgets even if their enrollments were declining. Although Shawnee Mission's enrollment decreased from 45,375 in 1970 to 31,017 in 1992, the district was able to increase its budget to keep up with inflation.