Most of the things you picture a Kansas school district spending money on comes out of the general fund. This is the fund we can use to buy textbooks and classroom materials and pay the salaries and benefits for teachers, counselors, principals, secretaries, nurses, bus drivers and other employees.
The general fund is largely made up from state funding called Base State Aid Per Pupil, or BSAPP. In 2008, the BSAPP reached it’s highest level of $4,400. As a result of funding cuts made during the Great Recession, the BSAPP was reduced dramatically. The Governor’s allotment (a cut of $42 in the BSAPP) lowered the BSAPP to $3,810. This is just about the same amount school district’s received in 2000. To put this in perspective, if the BSAPP had just maintained the rate of inflation, we would have a BSAPP of about $6,059.
Keep this in mind the next time you hear that state funding to schools in Kansas has increased over the past few years.
A portion of the general fund comes from the 20 mills that every homeowner pays in property tax. In some districts, this 20 mills raises more than enough for the general fund. In that case, the extra money raised goes to the state to be redistributed to districts where the 20 mills does not cover the general fund needs — places like Eudora. In a property-poor district like ours, the 20 mills raise only about 10% of our general fund; the rest is made up by state aid and federal sources. Read more about equalization here.