Wichita’s school board heard the first draft of the district’s $686 million budget Monday night.
The new budget represents an increase of $43 million over last year's budget. Of the new money, $25 million is locked in for funds like KPERS while the remaining $18 million exists in the more flexible general, supplemental and weighted funds.
The main driver of the larger budget is increased state aid. Higher property values also helped. The mill levy rate is also being lowered with the new budget.
The increased funding is a break from years of shrinking budgets.
"It is much more fun to have this kind of a budget report than what we’ve had for a few years,” said Sheril Logan, the school board's president.
The district is currently negotiating with the local teachers union for a new contract and had used some of the additional funding to offer a compensation package for teachers representing a 4.7 percent increase.
The school board is expected to adopt a final budget Aug. 27.
Stephan Bisaha is an education reporter for KMUW and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @SteveBisaha.
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