By Jon A. Brake
In March the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit reviewed four school districts budgets: Topeka, Salina, Wichita and Manhattan.
The report stated: "The problems we identified with districts’ budget processes ranged from fundamental and system wide flaws to inconsistencies among districts, to a lack of clarity in reporting."
The only way the Free Press has compared budgets (because of the flaws) is to compare the same Total Budget line at the bottom of the published budget. In this way you are comparing only one figure year to year.
The 2002-03 Budget is $58,832,634. That is up from the $54,666,783 for 2001-02 and that was up from the $50,916,419 in 2000-01. The figures in the chart above have been changed to add in the Federal Funds that were required in this year’s budget.
It does not matter how you look at the Manhattan School Budget it did go up. And many are asking how can the Budget continue to go up if the district enrollment is down, and the Board is cutting teachers, and closing schools?
The answer is that the District Budget is completely out of line. A comparison with two other school districts will show just how far Manhattan out-of-line the District has become.
And if the Manhattan School District is correct, this year they will have 200 less students than the numbers shown below. This would make the comparison more in favor of Hutchinson and Junction City than it is already.
Yes, we are told that Manhattan has one of the best school district in the state of Kansas. Hutchinson and Junction City say the same thing.
Our Board needs to do a better job.
Hutchinson Manhattan Junction City
$5.2 Million $10.1 Million $5.9 Million