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Board of Education approves decrease in tax rate

The Board of Education approved the school district’s budget for the 2019-20 school year at its meeting on Monday, August 5. The action includes another decrease in the district’s tax rate (mill levy), dropping to its lowest level in at least 20 years.

Bar graph image showing tax rate in 2010 compared to 2019. The fiscal budget reduces the tax rate by nearly 1.4 mills to 63.479. This marks the eighth out of the last nine years the district decreased its tax rate and represents a reduction 20.617 mills since 2010.

The current reduction is due to a number of factors including continued operational efficiencies, higher assessed valuation, along with a decrease in bond and interest payments.

Superintendent Frank Harwood commended the work of district staff for preparing a healthy and fiscally responsible budget. “Over the last ten years, finances in USD 232 have been challenging.  Faced with decreasing resources and growing enrollment, the district and Board of Education have done an exceptional job of being resilient in stretching available resources,” Harwood said. “Action by the legislature the last three years has made it possible for us to make some positive steps. It is very important this trend continue to help us make progress in providing exceptional educational opportunities for all our students.”

The district’s budget authority for the general operating fund for 2019-20 is estimated at  just over $45 million and its supplemental general fund (local option budget) is $15.3 million. The general fund and the supplemental general fund combine to make up the school district’s annual operating fund. This operating budget goes to pay for classroom resources, teacher and support staff salaries/benefits, and other day-to-day expenditures. To learn more about district finances, please visit the Finance webpage at

USD 232 operates 12 schools with an enrollment of approximately 7,500 students in northwest Johnson County, Kansas. District boundaries cover nearly 100 square miles serving the communities of De Soto, Shawnee, Lenexa and Olathe.