A bill proposing a new school funding formula has been introduced to the Kansas senate.

A bill proposing a new school funding formula has been introduced to the Kansas senate.
If passed, the new formula would apply to six school districts in the Coalition of Innovative School Districts for the 2015-2016 school year. McPherson School District is one of those districts.
Other school districts would be phased into the new formula over two years.
This new formula would give money based on a district's poverty rate, enrollment, assessed property values and student success. Student success is measured as a percentage of graduates who attend college, join the military or are otherwise gainfully employed.
The formula would combine local option budget and capital outlay funding. This means districts would have more flexibility in determining how to spend this money.
In McPherson, the formula would also require additional audits, hiring more business staff and approval from a Topeka committee for bond issues, such as the one that funded improvements at three district elementary schools.
Randy Watson, superintendent, and Chris Ruder, associate superintendent, said they would testify on the bill in Topeka today. Watson said they would speak in favor of the formula or neutrally, and he expects the other districts to do the same.
The board discussed a proposal to increase the district's local option budget. The proposal comes in response to the recent passage of a state bill that replaces the current school funding for mula with block grants.
Increasing the local option budget will require voter approval. Watson said the district could raise as much as $450,000 additional dollars if approved. It is unclear weather this would also lead to an increase in local property taxes.
Watson said this increase would be necessary to cover losses in state equalization and other funding.
If the board seeks this expanded budget, voter approval would give the board authority to increase the budget. Voter approval does not mean the board will increase its local option budget. Because of legal challenges to the block grant bill, it is unclear if this increase will be necessary to avoid a budget deficit in the 2015-2016 school year.
The board will have a retreat April 6 to discuss the matter.
The board approved an exclusive agreement with BSN for Nike uniforms. This agreement means the district will receive discounts on uniforms and apparel for coaches. Students can also acquire items such as shoes and socks for discounted prices.
The board accepted a proposal to include a community service requirement beginning with the graduating class of 2019. The proposal would require students to complete five hours of community service each year in middle school, and 10 hours each year in high school for a total of 55 hours. Excess hours in one year can be counted toward the requirement for other years, and the Big Event can be counted for 20 hours total.