Wichita schools enrollment starts today, final budget presented tonight

Wichita Public Schools (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) _ Today is the first of many back-to-school firsts.

It’s the official start of enrollment for Wichita’s USD 259 and an important school board meeting tonight.

Today is the official first day for in-person enrollment district-wide.

It starts today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday and Wednesday enrollment will continue from noon to 7 p.m.

It’s not required for any parents who have already paid their fees and enrolled online.

KSN spoke with Wendy Johnson, the USD 259 division director for marketing and communications, who says they’d like to remind parents of the new start date.

A few months ago the district made the decision to the school days, bumping the start of the school year back a week.

This year, Wichita Public Schools will start august 24 and 6th and 9th graders will start august 23.

Johnson said they’re looking forward to greeting kids and their families today for the start of enrollment.

“A lot of times families want to come in. Kids want to see their school, they want to greet their principal, they wanna be excited, they can get supply lists,” she said. “They can just get back in the swing of things so we welcome our families back into schools. It’s always exciting to be in the hallways when enrollment day comes around.”

While today’s an exciting day for kids, tonight’s school board meeting will include a big step for the district’s budget and some good news for taxpayers.

It’s the first presentation of the final budget.

Johnson explained how the district got to this point after so much uncertainty from the state budget struggles.

“It has certainly slowed some things down,” she said. “Uncertainty means that final decisions can’t be made, final recommendations can’t come before the board. The beginning of our negotiations process for the groups with whom we negotiate, starting much, much later than it typically starts.”

The board has seen tentative numbers at meetings leading up to tonight but with tonight’s first presentation of the final budget, the board will have the opportunity to review the final numbers and, if accepted, approve the notice to publish.

That means the final budget will be published in the newspaper along with a notice of hearing on august 22.

One piece of the puzzle the district is adding is the extraordinary needs fund that USD 259 was awarded last week.

Different districts base their extraordinary needs requests on different factors.

USD 259 requested the funding for their increase in refugee students.

That’s another some $686,000.

Johnson also says the property tax levy will be reduced by just over two mills.

That should have Wichita taxpayers smiling tonight.

We’ll have updates on tonight’s board meeting as they develop.

 

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