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Schools Increase Local Budget Cap

Ten percent of the state’s school districts took advantage last school year of a statutory change that allowed them to expand their cap for levying property taxes, and the number of districts doing so may increase in the new fiscal year.

On Tuesday, Topeka Unified School District 501 voters joined the list of districts with expanded local budget authority — assuming the 106-vote approval margin stands following final ballot tallies this coming week.

That makes USD 501 the first large, majority low-income district (as measured by parents’ self-reported earnings) to take this route. Wichita USD 259 and Kansas City, Kan., USD 500 have held off.

David Smith, spokesperson for the Kansas City school district, said administrators there feel the Legislature isn’t fulfilling its duty to fund schools adequately.