LOUISBURG — The Louisburg USD 416 budget for the 2020-2021 school year includes a double-digit drop in the property tax mill levy.
The Louisburg school board voted Monday, Aug. 24, to approve a budget that cuts the district’s overall mill levy from 64.861 mills to 45.469 mills. The drastic reduction is due to retirement of Rockville Elementary construction bonds.
With retirement of the Rockville debt, the bond and interest portion of district’s budget dropped from 21.5 mills in 2019-2020 to 2 mills for the current year. If voters approve the proposed $24 million bond election Nov. 3, the bond and interest mill rate would be 9.75 mills for the 2021-2022 year.
A property owner’s annual tax bill for the bond fund on a $200,000 home at 21.532 mills was $495.24 in 2019-2020. At 2 mills in the new budget for 2020-2021, that tax bill drops to $46. If the bond election is approved, a mill levy of 9.75 mills would be $224.25 in the 2021-2022 year.
A district chart shows that bond and interest mill rates for the other Frontier League schools, as well as Gardner and Blue Valley, are higher than 9.75 mills. The other districts’ mill rates average 17.320 mills, with the highest Eudora at 27.973 mills and the lowest Paola at 10.79 mills.
At its Aug. 10 meeting, the Louisburg USD 416 school board trimmed portions of a $34.5 million bond issue that failed to gain support in the Aug. 5 primary election and voted 7-0 to present the bond proposal to district voters on a smaller scale at $24 million.
Board members eliminated the second question of the two-part proposal which called for construction of a new four-field, baseball/softball complex on school property. The board’s move cut $6.9 million from the overall proposal.
The board worked well into the evening to go through line items for each building. Items like roofs, HVAC systems, enhanced safety measures and other infrastructure needs remain in the proposal, but the board agreed to trim another $3.6 million from the lists.
Superintendent Brian Biermann and board members said they are hopeful the bond will pass to address needs they say are critical to maintaining the type of facilities and educational opportunities for students that the community has come to expect.
Dr. Biermann also pointed out interest rates, currently at historic lows of 1.5 to 2 percent, likely would still be that low in November. He’s hopeful the community will see the potential savings represented by these low interest rates and the favorable bids that experts in the design and construction field have said the district could expect from contractors and subcontractors eager to return to work after losing business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In discussing the failed bond attempt in the Aug. 5 primary, board member Rob Vohs expressed disappointment the community could not see the potential cost savings for the district and the chance to help students. He said if the district has to piecemeal these improvements it will cost district taxpayers more in the long run.