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Major Mail-In Election Slated For Johnson County Schools


Starting Friday the Johnson County Election office will mail about 330,000 ballots to voters in five county school districts.

The districts want to make permanent an increase in their local option budgets.

School districts have two main sources of money. Most funds come from the state, but districts can also raise local money from property taxes.

But the state limits how much a school district can tax locally.

Last year, the Legislature raised the limit from 31 percent to 33 percent of a district’s budget.

Part of that was to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling. Part of it was a political compromise.

Boards of education were able to increase the local option on their own last year but now they have to go to voters to make the increase permanent.

Olathe School District CFO John Hutchison says $4 million is at stake for his district.

“Eighty percent of our budget is labor," he says. "So that means classroom teachers but also classroom supplies. That equates to about 70 teachers throughout our district.”

Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, Desoto and Gardner-Edgerton are also asking voters to approve the higher local option.

If voters don't approve the higher local option, Blue Valley stands to lose $3 million, Gardner-Edgerton $1 million, Desoto $1 million and Shawnee Mission $4 million, according to the districts' websites.

Shawnee Mission also wants voters to approve a $223 million bond issue for an aquatic center, security upgrades and other building improvements.

People registered to vote will automatically get their ballots in the mail. Those not registered have until Jan. 7 to do so.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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