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The Issue

Recently, Kansas 77th District Rep. Kristey Williams and the Butler County Commissioners have worked to urge Butler Community College Board of Trustees to reduce the college’s mill levy by 5 mills. They are voicing their opinion throughout the county and the Commissioners passed a resolution stating such on June 12, 2018.

Neither the County Commissioners nor Rep. Williams have any direct jurisdiction over the college or its mill levy. The mill levy is set by Butler’s Board of Trustees who are locally elected and represent districts throughout the entire county. The Trustees work hard to maintain a lower mill levy for county property owners despite decreased funding from the state and enrollment declines.

The proposed 5 mill reduction would result in a $3.5 million loss to the college while saving the average taxpayer on a $100,000 home value only .16 cents per day or $57.50 per year. Williams proposes the college charge out-of-county students $25 per credit hour more to attend Butler to offset the loss. Butler leadership estimates that hike would create an estimated 8 percent loss in enrollment which not only further hurts the college, but also the region.

The issue is how Kansas funds higher education and our legislature can improve it in Topeka. Until the early 2000s, if a student attended a Kansas community college from outside that community college home county, the student’s home county was billed out-district tuition of $24 per credit hour and the state was billed $24 per credit hour. The rate was set by the legislature. In 1999, the Kansas Legislature passed the 1999 Higher Education Coordination Act which launched a four-year phase out of out-district tuition by reducing the $24 per credit hour rate by 25% annually. However, this plan only lived two years before out-district tuition was completely eliminated by the legislature. If the state were paying community colleges what they promised in 1999, Butler would be receiving an additional $5.9 million from the state this coming fiscal year.

Community college funding is an issue created by the state legislature that must be fixed at the state level to achieve fair funding for all Kansans; for those paying for it as well as for those seeking a better life through higher education. 

Butler Community College is the lowest taxing entity in Butler County.

Mill Levy FACTS

  • Mill Levies impact and are paid by property owners only.

  • Currently, the Butler Community College mill levy is 20.063.

  • In three years the mill levy will revert to 18.063, the same level it has been since 2009.

  • 2016 median property value in Butler County was $137,800.

  • The largest share of households have a property value of $150,000 - $170,000.

Butler Community College is the THIRD LOWEST MILL LEVY of all 19 community colleges in the state of Kansas.

The proposed mill reduction would cut $3.5 million from Butler's budget but only save the tax payer $.16 per day.