Archive for Tuesday, May 5, 2015

With caveats attached, board approves elimination of elementary texbook, all-day kindergarten fees

May 5, 2015

There are still a few caveats to next school year’s fee list, but the Shawnee Mission school board has approved a package that includes two significant changes giving elementary school parents a major financial break.

Omitted from fees parents can expect to pay next school year are textbook expenses at the elementary school level and those for all-day kindergarten.

“We will still collect this year slightly more in textbook funds than we will expend, and so the fund balance in our textbook fund will grow,” said Superintendent Jim Hinson at last week’s board meeting. “And so that’s why we can recommend the elimination of textbook funds for this coming school year at the elementary level.”

There are some catches, Hinson said, namely in regards to the Legislature, which reconvened last week.

“The Legislature, they have to fund the block grant proposal that they have passed, and so we certainly trust that that occurs,” Hinson said. “And so that needs to occur for a lot of initiatives that we’re looking at.”

Another catch is in regard to what happens with the ongoing Gannon vs. Kansas school funding lawsuit, Hinson said. And still another caveat to the fee eliminations could be how long processes will take at both the legislative and judicial levels.

“The timing of potential decisions is very significant for us,” Hinson said.

The elimination of elementary-level fees wouldn’t only benefit parents, however. Hinson said it would also free up about $225,000 per year in relation to the time spent by the district’s clerical staff on processing elementary fees. He also emphasized that no clerical staff positions would be cut as a result of the fee eliminations.

All other fees approved by the board, which include activity, yearbook and out-of-district tuition, among others, are the same or very similar to last school year’s, Hinson said. Middle and high school textbook fees will not be eliminated.

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